All-White Marketing Firm Makes MAD MEN Blaxploitation Parody

Is this okay?

I watched the above trailer for Don-O-Mite, a blaxploitation parody of Mad Men and was impressed by the production value on display. Those are great costumes! And the office looks nice! The parody aspect is pretty well done as well, taking a page from stuff like Black Shampoo and The Black Godfather and The Black Angels - movies where popular white films were semi-remade with black casts and culture. As usual when lampooning this sort of stuff - which was racially broad in the first place - some of the jokes skirt the edge of racism, but there's no reason to get uptight about that.

Well, until I saw who made it. It's these people:

It's a very white marketing firm out of New York City. Looking at the credits on this poster for the trailer:

everybody who wrote and directed the thing is, in the parlance of blaxploitation, a honky. Now in a meta way this is historically accurate, as you'd often have white guys writing and directing the great blaxploitation films of the 70s (sometimes. It's important to note that the best films in the genre, Shaft and Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song were directed by black men), but it's 2014 and I'm not sure that sort of meta correctness matters anymore.

So this thing is clever, and it's well-made, but does its background make it sort of weird and wrong? I kind of lean towards yes, and largely because - and this is my bias speaking - this is a marketing agency making the trailer. This isn't a group of well-meaning white filmmakers, it's a company looking to expand their brand. They're professionals who have worked on a lot of major projects, judging by their website, so maybe they should have taken sensitivity into consideration. 

It's worth noting that there's nothing crazy offensive in the trailer. Of course I'm pretty jaded when it comes to offense, but the jokes here seem to be in line with blaxploitation jokes in general. It becomes a question of who is making them, and why they're all white. 

What do you guys think? I'm genuinely torn about whether this is problematical or not, so I figured this could be a good discussion point.

Comments