In my last write up, in which I discussed my take on 1992’s Candyman,
Candyman (1992): White Ignorance Of Black Privilege
Why one subplot of Clive Barker’s urban Folk Horror revolves around Bernadette and the terror of unfamiliar…
I wrote that both Helen Lyle and Bernadette Walsh, a black and white duo of graduate students:
“Carelessly seek ‘truth’ in the wrong part of town, at the darkest hours of night, disrespectfully appropriating a way of life they cannot grasp, claiming the legacy of its pain for their own selfish financial and academic pursuits, and intruding into spaces uninvited, as if people didn’t live there — But rather were inanimate objects in a museum.“
Simply put, they are pseudo-ethnographers who feign to care about their subjects, but use their stories for their own gain.
It’s interesting that this socioeconomic dynamic isn’t as explored as much. For even in the 2021 film, the theme of writers, or in this case, artists, who steal artistic and cultural narratives from urban communities in order to make a profit, is still front and center.
Only in this instance the culture vulture is a black creative.
The film seems to say that narratives can be stolen by anyone, regardless of their background, and that karma of the highest order eventually comes to those who claim them as their own.
The curse of inauthenticity.
For Helen Lyle, who reached into the abyss, it’s the abyss who peered back into her; Turning her reality on its head and giving her a taste of what discrimination looks and feels like.
Because art, like truth, is transformative.
It can bring about change, enlightenment, justice or psychosis — Depending on the intentions of the seeker.