There’s a joke comedians have been telling for years about how Black and White people typically react to the supernatural.White folks, the joke goes, don’t run when confronted by some unholy entity. They choose to stay and investigate.
They walk toward the creepy noise in the haunted house while asking, “Is anyone there?”But Black folks do not linger. At the first whiff of a ghost or monster, they scram.”If a Black person was the protagonist of a horror movie, it would be a very short movie,” chuckled filmmaker Jordan Peele while referencing the joke on a talk show.
That joke needs to be updated because it no longer applies, and Peele’s 2017 horror classic “Get Out” — whose main character is Black — is a primary reason why.Black people are standing their ground in the horror genre today. They and other artists of color — writers, filmmakers, TV showrunners — are telling stories that until recently were rarely heard.
We’ve entered a golden age of Black horror storytelling, where Black characters are front and center and the real monster often is racism. The signs are as obvious as a bloodcurdling scream in the night.