Editorials

CLOSER INSPECTION: The Brotha Rule

How can this keep on happening?

WARNING: This article does contain some spoilers for films you may not have seen including Transformers. Read on with caution.

Man, oh man. What have the movies come to? For those of you who have never heard of "The Brotha Rule" let me introduce to you a phenomenon we are all aware of, perhaps you just didn't give it a name. The best description of "The Brotha Rule" comes from Kamal Larsuel, a friend of RopeofSilicon.com who owns and operates 3BlackChicks.com and wrote the book "3 Black Chicks Review Flicks: A Film and Video Guide with Flava!" with her co-horts.

In Kamal's review of Dracula 2000 she gives the following guidlines for "The Brotha Rule":

For starters, the rule does not apply to comedies and dramas. You have to be fleeing someone or something. A giant wave, a sea monster, space creature, a serial killer, an all around nasty villain, etc. You get the picture. If there is one black man in the central part of the cast he will die between 45 and 65 minutes of his first appearance. Most often, but not always, he will sacrifice himself for the life of the Caucasian main character.

Now. If there are two Black men, things change a little bit. If he is like a security guard or janitor, you know someone who is just filler, he'll be gone in under 20 minutes. Usually under 5 minutes.

I still remember when I was sitting in the theater during Stealth and Kamal asked me when I thought Jamie Foxx was going to die. I blew it off, it was Jamie Foxx, they can't kill him, he just won an Oscar. She reminded me of the rule and said she was betting on 60 minutes. Low and behold, almost to the second Jamie took a plunge straight into a rock wall in his jet and presto, the rule was in effect.

I can already hear the gears turning in your head trying to remember the last time you witnessed this phenomenon. Well, if you happened to catch Transformers this holiday weekend then you aren't going to have to look too far.

The lone Autobot to "die" in the film just happened to be the one that was voiced by black actor Darius McCrary (a.k.a. Eddie Winslow from "Family Matters"). Jazz was torn in two by Megatron as he helped out his white voiced buddies in battle. Unfortunately he was "not able to be saved."

Yup, they even go so far as to kill black robots, and even intergalactic heralds aren't immune from this rule!

So far this year we have also lost Andre Braugher (his character deserved it and Kerry Washington is too pretty to kill) and the Silver Surfer (voiced by Laurence Fishburne) in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Orlando Jones in Primeval and both the black guys from The Hills Have Eyes II.

Hills Have Eyes II was really what got me thinking about this about a week ago as they offed one of the two black guys immediately, leaving me to think the other had a legitimate shot, especially since he was the most accomplished of the group. However, his time came and the three white people lived to see another day.

Now of course there are exceptions to every rule, but this one is pretty steadfast and I am already wondering when the time will come for newly cast Michael Jai White in The Dark Knight.

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