Movies inform or misinform:
Alexandre Dumas wrote The Three Musketeers. I’d never really thought about who Alexandre Dumas was. It was settled somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness that he was some European writer, like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky. I’ve also never read the book but I’ve seen an edition of the movie, the one starring Orlando Bloom.
The book, The Three Musketeers, has been mentioned severally at different times and has inspired more than 200 movies. I especially remember that it was mentioned in the movie, Slumdog Millionaire where (if i remember properly) Dumas’ name was a 10 million dollar answer. I watched Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained a few days ago where this book was again mentioned. Viewers were also helped to a piece of the author’s history. Dr Schultz, a character in the movie, told Calvin Candie, the brutal slaver who’d before then savagely set his dogs on a slave he’d named after one of Alex Dumas’ musketeers, that Dumas was actually black!
Black? Now like I said earlier on I’d never really thought about who Alexandre Dumas was. This declaration set me a-thinking. Alexandre Dumas? Black? I’d been assuming the wrong almost all my life, I told myself. Dr Schultz’s assertion had unsettled dogs sleeping in my mental kennel, broken webs that were hanging calmly and set trapped flies in motion. I couldn’t just agree easily so I Googled Mr Dumas’ name and opened his Wikipedia® page. Before clicking on that Wikipedia® page, however, I’d opened Google Images® only to behold the ‘white’ features of Mr Dumas. With a little disappointment planted in my heart as to why Tarantino should feed me incorrect info about Dumas’ race I continued the search by opening that Wikipedia® page and after reading its first few paragraphs I confirmed that Alexandre Dumas was black . . .
Actually for the sake of accuracy Alexandre Dumas was mIXed-rACe. He had for a father a mixed-race French General who was born in Haiti and eventually married a black slave who bore the great Alexandre Dumas. So somewhere in time, white keys had to play music alongside black keys to produce the harmonious melody that earth’s piano should produce.
After all that has been done to the story of Cleopatra, Nubia and Kemet, I’m thankful that Tarantino’s Django Unchained didn’t at least distort that piece of history . . . it isn’t such a bad idea to just learn that Dumas was black.