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May 10, 2006

Akeelah, The Bee and The Maverick

This is going off subject for me but I was really happy to see the commercials for the movie Akeelah and the Bee.  Yeah I know, it looks like your typical family drama where you laugh, you cry , you hurl...ok you're not supposed to hurl but I couldn't resist.  But here's where the curve ball gets thrown....Akeelah is a drama for the family with a great message about family, educational achievement, and realizing ones potential against all odds....starring black people.  I'm not kidding....really I'm not.  There are no men dressed as overweight women, thank goodness.  Hey I sort of liked Big Momma's House, but did we really need another one as well as Tyler Perry's Madea?  I think the black-man-dressed-as-overweight-old-black-grandmother genre has run it's course...at least one can hope.  You'll also notice in this movie an alarming development - the lack of thugs, rappers, wannabe rappers, and the glorification of thuggish rapper wannabes.  I almost thought there was an amendment to the US Constitution stating that all black movies must include these and other negative stereotypes - see cinematic masterpieces ATL, Get Rich or Die Trying and Hustle & Flow... which gave us the Grammy winning tour-de-force "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" (on a side note, shouldn't it be hard out there for pimps?).  Better yet, don't see these movies at all.

What surprised me even more than this kind of movie being made (which says a lot) is that Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban was an executive producer, putting some of his impressive net worth into this project.  I always liked Cuban and thought he was the kind of owner you'd want for your favorite team.  I also consider him to be extremely intelligent.  All you need to know is that he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo! for a cool billion or so right before the Internet bubble burst.  So this guy could do anything he wants, and he chose to spend his time and money being a part of a positive family movie starring Ike and Tina Turner (better known as Laurence Fishburn and Angela Bassett).  That's cool enough on its own, but then Cuban went above and beyond the call of duty when he announced a program that lets teachers see the movie for free, and by encouraging kids from their schools to see the movie, a lucky school could win a $100,000 donation.  On his blog, Cuban explains how much he believes in the movie, and his enthusiasm for this endeavor is really great!

Maybe this more about CRM than I thought as this is a great way to promote to your target audiences.  I mean this is the guy who handed out vouchers for free plane tickets to 19,000 Dallas Maverick fans as part of a fan appreciation campaign.  I'm just glad he's bringing his maverick ways to the movies.  Boy did we need it!

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