It’s everything you’d expect from a black holiday movie, but with white people in it…
…Women snapping peas, a gun-toting grandma and a guy wearing a necklace over a turtleneck.
As an avid viewer of holiday movies, I have seen a lot of them. By a lot, I mean A LOT and that includes movies that are spesifically filmed for black audiences. Filmed “for black audiences”, to me this sounds super weird but apparently in US of A, it is a thing. “Last Holiday”, “A Madea Christmas”, “This Christmas” etc. I have seen tons of them.
Last christmas, SNL aired a black christmas movie trailer parody called “White Christmas”. As a Turkish viewer from Turkey, even I foresaw it causing controversy. The mock-trailer featured the SNL cast (who, at the time, only had 2 african american cast members)was only playing on the black holiday movie tropes that were created by the writers of those movies. And when it was played by an almost-all-white cast, it stirred a lot of controversy.
The mock trailer commences with a scene where a caucasian employee is being fired by an african american employer, and the lady who is played by Cecily Strong begs for mercy and says it’s christmas, alas the employer does not give her a chance (trope #1: cruel white boss who does not give the afro-american employee extra time even on christmas).
We see that the kid, “Rasheed” who is white as snow, has an obviously black name. They visit the grandma, who is allegedly based on Tyler Perry’s aunt Madea. When I look at her I can clearly see the resemblance. She’s tough, sassy, has a big bottom… But one thing that I noticed was that her speech was incomprehensible, not a matter of southern accent but plain incomprehensible. Which was I think the only offensive part of the skit, if there was any (Trope #2: The extremely motherly, gun-loving, sassy grandma with a southern accent).
The movie later on shows us a bar scene where Aidy Bryant makes a comment by saying “…and they’ll leave you for a white girl.(#3)” and the waiter, who is played by Keenan Thompson one of the only 2 black members of SNL at the time, looks at the camera and makes a face. SNL clearly was mocking their own mock-trailer!
We move onto a gospel scene (a scene I think I have seen in every movie oriented for black audience). We see white people gospel, unsurprisingly, they all suck at it! In a regular black holiday movie, there’d be a joyous gospel scene with amazing performances and SNL writers were clearly trying to go for laughter while mocking this trope (#4).
At the end, Jay Pharoah the other african american member of the SNL crew, the guy who played the boss in the beginning of the mock-trailer looks at the camera and say “Are we gonna get in trouble for this?” . By looking at this, we see that SNL writers were in fact waiting for a backlash, but still went with the idea. I think that this mock trailer was a good example of challenging the tropes.