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Bamboozled

Bamboozled is a 2000 satirical drama written and directed by Spike Lee about a modern televised minstrel show. Pierre Delacroix, played by Damon Wayans[?], is a Harvard-educated black man working for a television network, and proposes the minstrel show to solve the network's ratings slump. Delacroix' boss, Thomas Dunwitty, played by Michael Rapaport[?], is a white man who claims he can use the word "nigger" since he is married to a black woman. Delacroix proposes the show because he would like to quit but quitting the network would put him in violation of contract and so he would rather be fired. Delacroix hires two men off the street to tapdance and banter, in accordance with minstrel tradition; Delacroix expects the show to be controversial. Instead, the show is a wild success.

The content is heavily satirical, showing the characters all in blackface in a rural setting in a cotton field with plentiful watermelons. The Roots have a role as the show's house band, The Alabama Porch Monkeys. Audiences, initially baffled, come to love the show, and after a few episodes even elderly white women show up in blackface and proclaim themselves "niggers."

The script, in addition to expressing rage and grief at media representations of black people, largely through the character Sloan Hopkins (played by Jada Pinkett Smith), also satirizes many icons of black culture, including Ving Rhames[?], Will Smith, Johnnie Cochrane[?], and Al Sharpton (Cochrane and Sharpton appear as themselves in the film, protesting the television series).

The movie also stars Savion Glover[?] as Manray (stage name Mantan, after Mantan Moreland[?], Tommy Davidson as Womack (stage name Sleep n' Eat, after Willie Best[?]), Thomas Jefferson Byrd[?] as Honeycutt, and Mos Def, Canibus, and DJ Scratch[?] as three of the activist/hip hop group Mau Mau.

The movie was shot on digital video on a budget of $10 million USD, as Lee had trouble getting financing for the project.



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