Queen Latifah (from left), Condola Rashad, Phylicia Rashad, Adepero Oduye… (Lifetime )
Note from the wingman: This column is about Black. "Black" is how I'm going to define my cultural upbringing for the purpose of this column because I'm lazy. If that offends you, consider yourself warned.
The following is what I knew about "Steel Magnolias": The movie came out in 1989, Dolly Parton and her ginormous hooters were three of the stars, and 88 percent of the white women I know love it.
That WAS all I knew ... until Lifetime debuted a remake of the film Sunday. People remake movies all the time. Yawn, right? No way, baby! This time, the cast was entirely black. BLACK PEOPLE. All of them. I can just imagine that planning meeting, can't you?
"Uh ... how about we re-do a movie and just make everyone a different race?"
"Hmm ... as long as we can involve Queen Latifah, I'm in!"
I'm all for minority actors, directors and producers getting work, and the more who get gigs, the better. That being said, why stop at "Steel Magnolias"? Let's reimagine some other flicks while we're dreaming big, shall we? Here are a few ideas off the top of my head for movies that could use the all-black-cast treatment.
Set at BET, this tale of ratings-grabbing and reruns of canceled CW sitcoms would be sure to put butts in seats. Imagine a maniacal Clarence Williams III screaming, "I'm mad as hell that we're showing 'Soul Plane' and 'Amen' reruns four times a week, and I can't take it anymore!"
"12 Angry Men"
This could be a great tool to show the diversity that exists among black men in America today. Cast Hannibal Buress, the guy who played Prop Joe on "The Wire," Orlando Jones and nine other black actors who you do and don't recognize. Want to make it spicier? Make the defendant white.
Actually, I'm surprised this hasn't happened already.
"The Ten Commandments"
The whole movie is set in Egypt and Charlton Heston is your protagonist? Come on, man. Can't we get The Rock in there? Dude, I'm easy. I'll take the guy from "The Famous Jett Jackson"!
"The Social Network"
Let's get an Aaron Sorkin-penned look at the founding of influential social networking site worldstarhiphop.com. "What's better than a million videos of people beating the crap out of each other, horrible rap songs, and women of various ethnicities twerking? A BILLION videos of people beating the crap ... ." Scored by Rick Ross and the rest of The Untouchable Maybach Music Empire, of course.
Narrowly beating out "The King's Speech" and "Gosford Park," this is my vote for the whitest film ever made. The movie is so white the DVD turns red when you leave it in the sun for a long time. Replace the two main guys with J.B. Smoove and Anthony Anderson. Boom. Hilarious.
I just want to see what that would look like, honestly. Don't act like you don't.
As for movies starring mostly black actors that I'd like to see reimagined: "Friday," "Uptown Saturday Night" and "Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith." Wait, scratch that last one.
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.
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