STAR WARS’ FINN-is not the Black Youth’s Friend (The Juke Master)
I want to first emphasis that this piece is not a personal attack on actor John Boyega. Though, if one were to take a look at some of his roles and piece them together, there could be a common thread found. I will leave that to someone else to piece together.
However, I believe much can be found out about an actor’s personal beliefs, based upon the roles that they chose to play. Which leads led me to the discussion of the character, “the male lead,” FN-2187 also known as Finn, a name that was “Ahem,” given to him by another male lead, with much more decisive character traits. More on that later.
I also want to specify that you do not have to take what I write as the ultimate truth. I advise you not to. My job as a creative thinker and knower is to stimulate thought in others. If you were to go out today and buy all of the new Star Wars movies and the “Finn doll,” not “action figure,” “doll,” for your African-American or Black child, I would applaud you. Its your thang do what you want to do. However, if you are a Black parent and you claim to have a healthy feeling of love and pride for yourself as a Black man or woman, your mind should be much more open to observation after you read all of this.
TWO STRONG FORCES AT WORK BEHIND THE SCENES
Me being who I am, I saw these two forces at work instantly from the publicity, to the actual viewing of the movies The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Its just too obvious. So first let me get into some definitions according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Feminism-the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes; organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests; the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities; organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests; The Medical Definition of feminism; the presence of female secondary sex characteristics in a male; The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
Black Male Emasculation-This is a topic that does not receive much, if any light in the main stream media. The trusted Merriam-Webster dictionary does not have a direct definition of Black Male Emasculation.
Hyper-Tokenism: 'The Force Awakens' While the Black Man Sleeps
Hyper-Tokenism: 'The Force Awakens' While the Black Man Sleeps From the moment the original trailer debuted earlier…
However, lets take a look at the definition that is offered for emasculation itself by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Emasculation- to deprive of strength, vigor, or spirit: weaken; to deprive (a man) of his male strength, role, etc. Other definitions for emasculate- to deprive of force, how appropriate for Finn; deprive (a man) of his male role or identity; make (someone or something) weaker or less effective; to make a man feel less male by taking away his power and confidence. In various forms of mainstream media Black Men regularly are portrayed as weak, irresponsible, scary, indecisive, immature, as a side kick and not the lead, unwilling to take on responsibility, boyish and not manly, dumb, highly unintelligent, dependent, violent without a reasonable cause.
I could keep going but I think you get the stereotypical point. The Star Wars franchise is known around the world. Thus, the Star Wars movies and other film, television and other forms of media broadcast images of Black Men across the world. For better or worse, the images in media of Black Men are literally taken as the definition of what a Black Man is, in all parts of the world. Particularly, countries were the population of Black Men are in the minority. So this scary, lying, indecisive Black Man known as Finn in the Star Wars movies, is a representative of all Black Men, be it true or not true.
Exploring representations of Black masculinity and emasculation on NBC's Parenthood
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The Juke Master-Finn
Juke- a move intended to deceive.
I am not into movies in a way that so many people are, religiously. As in they live, breathe and die movies, characters, actors, etc. I am even less into this idea that Hollywood owes Black America more Black Superheroes, Black Action Heroes and Strong Black Male leading actors and actresses. I do believe there should be a level playing field and if such is not seen in the predominant Hollywood machine, then that is an opening ripe for independent films. However, as a Black Man who takes great pride in being a Black Man, I do feel a need to call out “crap” when I see it. Call a spade a spade, when it is definitely not hiding in the shade. Can you dig it? O.K.
With that being said within the 40 years of the Star Wars franchise there has been three Black Male characters of note. Lando Calrissian, described by Star Wars.com as “Once a smooth-talking smuggler, changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire. From adventures with the Ghost crew of rebels to the attack on Death Star II, his quick wit and daring proved to be invaluable. This I can absolutely agree with. The man flew the Millennium Falcon into the Death Star II, fired concussion missiles into the Death Star’s main reactor and raced for the surface, escaping just as the station exploded.
The lowly freighter, once derided as a piece of junk, had destroyed the Empire’s greatest weapon. Let me repeat, the man blew up the Death Star II.(Star Wars.com) I do not have to say anymore.
Visit the StarWars.com Databank and learn more about the life and legacy of Lando Calrissian.
I next move to Mace Windu, described on Star Wars.com as a grim Jedi Master with an amethyst-bladed lightsaber, Mace Windu was the champion of the Jedi Order, with little tolerance for the failings of the Senate, the arguments of politicians, or the opinions of rebellious Jedi. During the Clone Wars, Mace’s forays onto the battlefield showed why he was renowned as a warrior. Mace was quick to punish Jedi who failed to follow orders.
Visit the StarWars.com Databank and explore the life and legacy of Mace Windu with a character biography, pictures and…
Now…we have the ultimate in false marketing and even more treacherous, a Jedi Mind Trick, in the form of Finn. In case you needed a definition, marketing (The Force) can have a powerful effect on the weak-minded, a phenomenon Jedi sometimes take advantage of in pursuing their missions. An experienced Jedi can use the Force to implant a suggestion in the minds of those they encounter (unfortunately the Black Star Wars fan). Encouraging them to comply with the Jedi’s wishes as in spend your dollars$$$$.
A trained warrior desperate to escape his past, Finn is plunged into adventure as his conscience drives him down a…
I will give a quick background on Finn and then get into the newest movie. During the marketing for the 2015 movie The Force Awakens, photos and movie posters were revealed showing Finn holding a lightsaber, known to be a weapon of the Jedi. Star Wars fans and particularly Black Star Wars fans were extremely excited about this new possibility. A new Black hero in space!
However, there was “severe backlash” by way of racist fans who took to social media and threatened to boycott the film because of this potential Black Jedi becoming a new lead hero.
These bozos flooded the internet with hateful comments in response to a Black Man seemingly taking on such a prominent role in a global film franchise. Meanwhile, the Black Star Wars fans were excited and greatly anticipated the viewing of this film.
So…once the tickets were bought, popcorn crunched, lights dimmed and the opening and familiar orchestra score for the film began to play…oh they were ready. Oh, but the powerful Jedi Mind Trick was in full effect.
What did Black Star Wars fans really get? They got a character who was completely unsure of himself and who was in constant fear for his life.
A Black Male “action hero/male lead” who was completely, say it with me-Emasculated. Lets do a quick review of the definition of this word. to deprive (a man) of his male strength, role, etc. weaken; make (someone or something) weaker or less effective; to make a man feel less male by taking away his power and confidence.
I know people had to be sitting in the theater in shock. Rather, Black Star Wars fans in shock and those Racist Star Wars fans laughingly in relief. This guy Finn was the exact opposite of all of the pre movie release marketing.
Without a doubt this guy could not get any playing time on the field with Lando Cairissian
or Jedi Master Mace Windu.
This fool would have wooden splinters in his ass weekly, from sitting on the bench.
That just goes to show the difference in view point between many White people and Black people. Many White movie critics and Black apologist
praised Finn as “comic relief.” While Black Star Wars fans and Black people of conscious were finding themselves the victim of bait and switch advertising.
In the film The Force Awakens, Finn was always scared, always in need of assistance of Po Dameron, BB-8 and Rey who turned out to be the actual new Jedi. All of these characters were brave, willingly risk their lives, did things that seem too outrageous to believe. While, Finn was clumsy, slow mined, scary, a liar, uncool, swaggless, always breathing hard and sweating. Clearly not Lando Cairissian. Then things got really touchy…when Finn in the process of escaping… form the First Order base in a Tie-Fighter flown by Poe, is asked ,”What’s your name?” He tells Poe, FN-2187 and quickly is given a new name and identity by Poe, “nah I will call you Toby, I mean Finn.” Finn replies, ”Yeah, Finn, I like that!” You mean to tell me that, in all of that time of FN-2187 knowing he could not continue in life as a stormtrooper for the First Order, that he never considered naming himself, even as a form of self-motivation. I could go on, but why?
That was in 2015 and after seeing that “Finn Game” I refused to buy that doll so proudly displayed in toy stores for my children. I have no problem with and I love the female heroine Rey in the new set of Star Wars films, but I see no need to make the Black Male character a buffoon. In regards to feminism, I am all for the movement doing what it feels needs to be done to find equality according to its vision and definition, however there is no need to tear down and emasculate men in order to do it. Not all men are against women.
So now, here we are in 2017, The Last Jedi. At the end of the previous film Finn was beat into a coma by Kylo Ren and was laid out, while Rey handled business. I have to admit I was interested in seeing what Luke Skywalker was going to, as I have always found the Jedi and their spiritual philosophies to be very intriguing.
However, what really made me buy a ticket was my willingness to try out the new 4DX movie viewing experience. I had enough extra cash to spare, so I said to myself why not! I was interested, though much less, in seeing how “The Juke Master” would be portrayed in this newest Star Wars film. Oh my goodness…every time Finn showed up on the screen, it felt like someone was scratching nails on a chalkboard. I am sorry, he is not portrayed as a hero. He is portrayed once again as White movie critics and Black apologist duly noted, as “comic relief.”
THIS IS WERE I TELL EVERYTHING!!!!!
Those who saw the film “The Force Awakens” remember Finn being knocked into a coma by Kylo Ren “the dark warrior.” Thus, when the new film begins to focus on “The Juke Master” what does the audience see? Did we get to see this man wake up with dignity? Did we get to see him wake up asking medical staff around him “What happened, where am I?” No, no, no my friend. He woke up and just like an idiot, he fell out of the medical bed! It was symbolic of, “You fell for it again!”
Just to let you know how truly unimportant Finn was to the Resistance and the filmmakers wanted the audience to know this as well…There were ZERO medical staff around him, before or after he awoke…No one to monitor him, no one to check his blood pressure, no one around period. He was alone, hooked up to medical machines. Again, “rewind selecta!” What is the first image the audience sees of the new Black Star Wars action hero in 2017? They see the clown fall out of the bed. A continuation of the last movie.
The film continues moments later showing him walking down a hallway by himself, with water streaming from several parts of his futuristic medical garment. In other words, here he is again, the new Star Wars Black Male Hero, pissing on himself, before the action really gets in-depth. He pretty much keeps up the same sham throughout the entire movie.
Think about it. While he was walking down the hallway in an apparent daze, with water streaming out of his medical garment, no one stopped to ask “Are you alright?” Not one person, of many who were walking in the hallway even looked his way. Yet, he is one of the male leads?
Later in the film as he comes to his awareness, what are two of the first things he decides to do? Ask what is the status of the Resistance? Ask how long was he in a coma? Ask why was no one checking on me? No, he asks “Where is Rey!? Then in true “Juke Master” fashion…he decides…to RUN.
Runaway from danger, just like in the majority of the last film. Come on!!!! I know people had to turn around and look at each other as they saw this.
A new character…a part of the support crew that kept the Resistance starfighters flying, Rose, took over the role of Rey in the new movie. What do I mean? This wonderful new character took over the duty, of leading Finn around. Rey, the true star of the new Star Wars series, had more important things to do, like find Luke Skywalker and advance her Jedi training.
And how did Finn first meet Rose? By trying to RUN. She just so happened to be stationed in the pod bay with a stun gun, to prevent any deserters from escaping and who shows up…She was able to pull herself out of mourning the loss of her sister and still was able to muster more back bone than “The Juke Master.” He tried to put the Jedi Mind Trick on Rose, but his game was weak and soon she saw through his B.S. (lying again) and stunned him to sleep.
As a nod to the stereotype of Black Males of course and for added measure, she was seen taking him to jail or the brigg. When he woke up, once again he tries to warn another character, of the power of the First Order and that it is better to run.
He did manage to speak to Rose about the tracking problem that befell the Resistance and that a solution needed to be found, in order for all involved to escape. Finn begins to suddenly think of a way to deactivate the First Orders tracking device and as if on cue, Rose begins to almost talk over him and complete his sentences to complete his ideas of how this could be done. It was as if this guy cannot come up with his own plans of action like Poe Dameron or Rey, no, no, he needs help. Are you following this?
So Finn takes Rose to Poe and all is forgotten about his trying to run away. They get confirmation/permission from Poe as well as additional assistance to carry out the plan. They discover that in order to carry out this plan they need to find a “master code-breaker.” This individual would be found on the desert world of Cantonica at the Canto Bight casino city.
They find the code breaker and then find themselves needing to escape from the “Canto Bight security” if you will. Rose does a great act in the process, yet as they make their escape on Fathiers, “horse or camel like creatures,” something was noticeably not right. I and other film watchers were curious as to why, with so many Fathiers, that Finn had to ride on one with Rose, with her being in the front as Finn clinged onto her.
A likeness to how it is not unfamiliar to see a woman clinging onto a man on a horse, in most of your old western movies.
They could have rode on the Fathiers individually, side by side
but no. In keeping with the “Juke Master” theme, Finn could not be seen as a strong masculine Black Hero,
no, the gender roles are reversed in his case.
Later in the film during its most climatic scenes, Finn assist fighter pilots in flying several extremely old Resistance ski speeders
in a last ditch effort to fight off the First Order on the planet of Crait, a very old Resistance hideout. Most of all of the Resistance fighter pilots are blown to bits by the First Order AT-M6 (gorilla) walkers and Poe orders the remaining pilots back to the base.
Lumbering armored beasts that are the latest generation in walkers, these enormous transports help the First Order…
In a moment that sums up everything about Finn, he finally, finally, finally decides to be the hero that the Black Star Wars fans have been waiting to see.
He slings off his head set and decides to steer his ski speeder into the First Order’s battering ram cannon and buy more precious time for reinforcements to show up for the cause. Its an odd moment but, after all that had been seen of the character Finn, for him to make a choice to sacrifice himself for a greater cause, was admirable. Ironically, the same act of self sacrifice had been shown by a female leading character, no more than perhaps 15 minutes earlier in the film.
Finn gets closer and closer to being a hero, unchallenged. During this scene in the film, the audience witnessed him getting approaching the entrance of the cannon…dramatic music setting the tone. Then all of a sudden Rose, crashed her ski speeder into his, just as he was about to fly in, to stop him from finishing this heroic deed and thus, save his life!?
I almost got up and walked out of the movie theater and many Black Men and Women did at that point. We were like WTF!! It was yet another “Juke Master Special!!”
Oh, no, no, no, no, silly black man. You, cannot be the hero in this galaxy. I must remind you that at least 15 minutes earlier, a strong female lead character had just performed the same act. Once again, the Black Star Wars fan got slapped in the face with the undertone narrative of, the women of this movie having more back bone than the lone Black Man. Many will praise the character Rose with her selfless act of bravery at saving her companion. But, clearly Finn was once again-remember the word-Emasculated.
Then, to add insult to injury, just before she passed out, due to her injuries from the crash, she gives Finn a petty high school smooch on the lips. GTFOH!!! The “Chump Off” was in full effect. Richard Pryor made a joke once about a good night kiss on the cheek, look it up for reference to this.
All seems lost and suddenly after he had been completely forgotten, Luke Skywalker appears, literally from out of the shadows. The audience feels new hope. The man boldly walks out in front of seven (a highly spiritual number) intimidatingly, gargantuan, AT-M6 walkers with only a lightsaber and “the Force.” Extremely, similar to the famous image of the “Tank Man,”
the nickname of an unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protest in China. Kylo Ren orders all of the AT-M6 walkers to fire on the Jedi Master. An onslaught of military power is unleashed on Skywalker, with dust and smoke flying in every direction and nothing can be seen of the man who was standing there.
After what seemed like forever…the firing stops…after the smoke clears…Skywalker walks out…unharmed. The man even brushed off his shoulder. So now the crowd had just bared witness to Jedi Mastery, at its finest. We were fed up and done with Finn. But, oh the makers of the film just could not leave well enough alone. They like to put salt in wounds! So, for the Black folk who were still in the theater and were trying to move on…what did we have to see Finn do next? We were tired of Finn. We wanted Finn just to leave us alone, leave us be…
The movie viewing audience and the Resistance fighters on the screen were in awe of this display of “The Force.” Then Kylo Ren came forth out of the First Order machinery to face Skywalker, for what was to clearly be a lightsaber battle. The Sith vs the Jedi. All of the characters in the film remained in place, to witness this epic dual. However, what buffoon starts screaming, “We have to help Skywalker!?” None other than your dude, yeah your dude Finn!! We refuse to claim this character. Call Dave Chappelle for a new Racial Draft!! ASAP!!
After seeing what Skywalker did, what the hell was Finn going to do? I am sure someone heard me say out loud…”Man go sit your ass down somewhere!” This dude, this character is just too much!!
Here is the REAL Kicker Though…
Forget the buffoonery at face value. The real deal is that Star Wars is holding up a MIRROR to Black Men all over the world. The film is saying, “You Black Men are a bunch of idiots, who refuse to recognize and bring forth to full fruition all of your untapped potential, talents, mental abilities, courage and responsibilities. Based on their point of view.
The worst thing about a person’s life is “untapped or wasted potential.” Word…to Sonny from the movie “A Bronx Tale.” This Finn image is being played on television sets and movie screens around the world as I mentioned before. Simultaneously, with Tyler Perry movies and tv shows, reality tv and the folly of so called “Black Leaders.” Continuously on repeat.
Every nationality of person, no matter where they are in the world, sees these images and they are allowed to feel very comfortable. Why not? They are given permission to say “Black Men are a bunch of FOOLS, not to be taken seriously.”
Finn was and more than likely, never will be taken seriously as a hero and serious threat in the Star Wars universe. Most Star Wars fans are so caught up in the glitz and glamour of the franchise, that intelligent “G-Talk” like this, is completely over their heads. They have no connection to “The Force.” That’s not the point, the point is that this film helps to spread a message that most Black Males are no more than “little boys.” The truth is, many Black Men help spread the message all by themselves.
In closing, no responsible parent should ever look to Hollywood, professional athletics, politicians, music “stars,” people in the community etc, to set the standard as a role model for their child. Especially, Black People. Role modelling, is your job parents.
A blog by Jassiri Nassor about numerology, spirituality, social commentary, self-confidence and overcoming self…
COPYRIGHT 2017 JASSIRI NASSOR/ THOUGHT ELEVATION OLA
All photos given proper credit and attribution