King Kong (1933) tells the story of white adventurers who encounter a band of Africans who worship a giant gorilla. They are seen offering up one of their young women as a sacrificial bride for King Kong. However, when they spot the blonde white woman in the adventurers’ party, they take her as captive instead for their King. Kong, attracted to her, is at one point seen taking off her dress with one huge Black finger.
Ultimately, however, he is captured by the white adventurers and brought to New York. There he is put up on a Broadway stage in chains. He then breaks out, pursues the girl, and wreaks havoc in the Big Apple, the center of America. He is eventually cornered, perched on top of a skyscraper. Here, the supposedly large and mighty Kong looks tiny against the towering, white phallic symbol that is the Empire State Building. He is soon shot down by circling airplanes, and the blonde white woman is saved.
The capture of Kong and his removal to America symbolizes the slave trade. Kong, in chains up on stage, represents both slavery and the chaining of the Black image in the media to minstrel or entertaining stereotypes. Kong also is a symbol of the supposed danger of the brutally strong, but stupid, Black man who lusts for the white woman.
When King Kong was first released, the infamous case of the Scottsboro Boys, nine Black men falsely accused of raping a white woman, was all over the news. Ironically back then, however, it was the Ku Klux Klan that was ravaging Black women and openly killing Black men. Members of the US Congress at the time proudly announced that they belonged to this terrorist organization. It’s interesting to note that the words “Kill King Kong,” which becomes the goal at the end of the film, have the initials KKK. The Army even used the left pic as a recruiting tool. 🤔
The 1981 version of this “American classic” similarly addressed the racial dynamic in American at that time, just as the latest version of King Kong subliminally speak to the “race problem” in America today. #EducateUrself #KingKong #Throwback #YouGoneGetDisWork