British blacks threaten boycott of new Tarantino film over the N-word

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The Independent Online
BLACK people are being urged to boycott the controversial new Quentin Tarantino film Jackie Brown because of its prolific use of the word "nigger".

The head of the National Assembly Against Racism, Lee Jasper, said the film, which is about a 44-year-old air hostess who is also a gunrunner's courier, could legitimise the use of the word in everyday speech.

In total, it occurs 38 times. Mr Jasper, who advises the Government on race issues, said: "If the word 'nigger' is used inappropriately then the film should be condemned and boycotted."

Another black rights activist, Pepukayi, of the Pan African Congress Movement, said his organisation would discuss the film in the next few days and that it could decide to mount pickets outside cinemas showing it.

Jackie Brown is released in Britain on Friday and has already caused a stir in the US, with black director Spike Lee accusing it of being racist. He said: "I want Quentin to know that all African-Americans do not think the word is trendy or slick."

Leo Muhammed of the black separatist movement, the Nation of Islam, has condemned the "liberal use of the N-word" and accused Mr Tarantino of trying to make black people look like "buffoons and clowns". AndOona King, the black Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, in east London, said:" Black people in America call themselves 'nigger' all the time ... But if white people are calling black people it then that's an entirely different matter."

However, many black people in America have defended the film, particularly two of its stars, Pam Grier and Samuel L Jackson. Grier, who had roles in a number of 1970s blaxploitation films and plays the gun-slinging heroine, said: "I used the word and I don't have a problem with it. We have turned around a negative connotation based on painful expressions of humanity and embraced it."

Nor are all black British people against the film. Linda Bellos, editor of the new Black Filmmaker magazine, said: "This movie has given black actors the opportunity to work and earn money, and to play some meaty parts in a feature film. The only problem I have is that it wasn't made by a black director. Black people are still not being given an equal chance to make films."