Red Tails: Fun, Action, and History Too

Lakeesha J. Harris, Senior Staff Writer

Updated: Friday, January 27, 2012 00:01

Photo courtesy of Historical Photos/Tuskeegee Airmen

On a balmy and snowy Chicago winter’s day, there’s only one thing can get me out of the house – and that’s partaking in a good movie with my children. When producer George Lucas announced that Red Tails, a movie about the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII, would be coming to the silver screen, I was so excited. I’ve been on pins and needles ever since and swore I’d be the first to hop in line to support this film. I was not disappointed – and neither were my sons.

“We fight, we fight, we fight” was the chant of the Tuskegee Airmen, and this certainly was the case for Producer Lucas as it took him 23 years to bring this gem to the big screen. Lucas has been quoted as saying that Red Tails, staring an all Black cast, was a hard sell in Hollywood and every single studio that he approached turned him down. However this didn’t stop Lucas and Director Anthony Hemmingway from bringing something so historically relevant and cinematically rich to movie goers nationwide. After watching Lucas’s stunning depiction of the Ninety-ninth Pursuit Squadron flying their first combat mission, I felt I was no longer in the movie theater, my son’s and I were witnessing history. Red Tails takes us on a journey through time and we become a part of the breakdown of race barriers within the U.S. Armed forces.

All in all, the cast does an amazing job depicting the men of the Ninety-ninth; Terrance Howard shows a bit more range in his acting style as Colonel A.J. Bullard, and Nate Parker once again brings it home as Marty ‘Easy’ Julian – the squadron’s leader. Though Red Tails isn’t totally historically accurate, as some names seem to have been changed, it does hold true to time and locality of the Squadron’s combat missions.

Red Tails will remain on my top 10 movie list, not because it’s the best movie Lucas has made, but because in a world where Black citizens of America are still battling to break down barriers of race, isn’t it nice to know that there is a legacy already paved.