Flippant Remarks about Color of Cross

Alex Collins in Color of the Cross Jean-Claude La Marre, his Color of the Cross, is (to me) the most ‘responsible’ Black American film of the post-civil-rights generation. It was mystery to me why the ultra-right-wing aesthetic of Fox would even bother to recognize the existence of this film—until it became clear to me that Color of the Cross comes out of the house of T.D. Jakes and Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray. To me, this one slipped through the faith-based missionary fascism of Pontius Bush because of the stamp of approval of these two mega-church titans. I do not think the image of a young Black child (young Yeshua, played by Alex Collins) calmly stating that he is the Son of God would survive the good censors of Texas. You can feel the unprofessional, white, misinformed indignation and hypocritical sarcasm in this Fox News interview/ambush of La Marre on

Buy this DVD at! Just because Color of the Cross is not perfect does not mean it should not exist. Moses played by Charleston Heston is “okay” and Dutch masters painting a Dutch Christ is “okay”—but don’t see us Black folks try to protect our children through storytelling—right? Anyway, since I am so “negative,” here are my found flaws in the film:

  • The use of the word “Black” (and “white”) would be an anachronism for the historical period of film. The makers of this film seem forget on camera that Egypt was a super-power preceding the rise of Rome—and Egypt is in Africa. So to look down on Africans based on physical appearance like “we” despise us today would not have been psychologically possible in Biblical times—no matter what one can pull out of a 1964 revised edition of a King James version.

  • The threat of a full-blood African leading a rebellion against the Romans is more real and terrifying than some cute little modern preoccupation with the color of skin. The Romans would be seriously concerned with a new “false prophet” as another Hannibal attempting to restore the Old Kingdom of Africa as “heaven on Earth.” The makers of this film seem to forget on camera that Hannibal was also an African who died a mere 183 years before the birth of Christ. They lost an opportunity, in their European-suit ministry, to remind a new, young BET audience that the threat of an African subversive claiming descent from a royal blood leading a “rainbow coalition” army was (and is) a deep primal threat to an Imperial Roman sense of security.

  • This film continues the British-empire-era tradition of representing Romans more as people from modern England than people from modern Italy. I’m sure an actor could be found on the set who is 100% Italian with a flawless English accent—but I think I am making my point here. It is sad to admit that Mel Gibson got this right in his anti-Jew ‘classic.’But here, on the other side of the Roman coin, are the profoundly constructive aspects of Color of the Cross:

  • My children get to have the image of a Black man as Jesus Christ to cultivate the immature, impressionable imagination. Throw it in the gumbo pot with the Swedish Christ and simmer for 18 years—we might actually get something spicy.

  • Sexy Viacom employee Ananda Lewis actually travelling in social/business circles that eventually led her to this project sets an example for young Black American actresses far outside of strumpet ho-down record deals and overdoses on weight-gainers.

  • This film represents a challenge to publicly retell the story of the African Christ again and again as a traditional, non-profit exercise for wealthy, educated, self-described-as-“Christian” people of African descent.

  • When our Black Jesus speaks to his Father, he does not use the English language. This is an extremely important lesson for the BET youth still keeping it real.


Amarpal Khanna, 2008-07-04 21:39:54

Space blood, going to check that movie out..saw the interview up..nice here's my blog

p.s. the Mari show/interview was '07!

peace blood

rasx(), 2008-07-07 19:01:03