Action films have just gotten the dopest boost of the summer with the release of two trailers, one for Proud Mary starring Taraji P. Henson and one for Atomic Blonde starring Charlize Theron. On the heels of Wonder Woman, the films seem similar, since they both star a female lead who is an incredibly well-dressed, ass-kicking assassin. Both trailers have this alluring mystique with little dialogue, plenty of silent action, and music. Still, people can't help but to point out how similar the films are, and of course, bring up the women's races, even though they should really just see both movies and enjoy.
Even worse, Proud Mary has already been dubbed "the black version" of Atomic Blonde.
Calling Proud Mary "the black version" suggests that there cannot be an independent narrative about a black female assassin that isn't a riff of something a white female character has done. Statements like these also diminish the value of the hard work that Taraji P. Henson has put into not just this film, but throughout her entire career.
It is possible to enjoy a film starring a white woman and then turn around and enjoy one starring a black woman. There is no rule that says if two similar movies come out, choose the one that matches your race.
To clarify, it is true that black films often need a lot of support to prove that they can do well at the box office with a primarily black cast. Nothing is wrong with wanting to support Proud Mary because of that; it's part of why I went to see the black female-led film, Girls' Trip, when it opened in theaters on Friday.
I also saw the film because the trailers looked hilarious and I would not have gone to see the comedy if it didn't look interesting to me. Representation of black people in film matters, so I support black movies, but I also invest in what I purely like.
Atomic Blonde and Proud Mary both star actresses whose work I adore. Taraji P. Henson is fresh off of the release of Hidden Figures, which grossed $230.3 million on a $25 million budget and was nominated for three Oscar, as reported by Glamour magazine.
Charlize Theron recently joined the eighth installment of one of the greatest film franchises of all time with her role as Cipher in the Fate of the Furious.
I fully expect to see these two women take on their individual roles with major plot differences and character details that I relate to in different ways.
If you do choose one film over the other, then let it be for something that matters.
I actually suggest you see both because I wouldn't miss a Henson or Theron film for anything.
Still, if you do choose not to watch either Atomic Blonde or Proud Mary, I hope it's just because one of the trailers looked boring, or seemed repetitive, or because you've tried to enjoy one of the actress's work and just didn't like her acting style.
But don't miss Proud Mary because Taraji P. Henson is black or because Charlize Theron is white. There is room for more than one woman and more than one race in Hollywood. To chalk up either of their movies as "the white version" or "the black version" and write off one in preference of the other purely based on their skin color will likely rob you of a really good two hours in a theater near you.
And you'll totally be lost if Hollywood decides to bless internet stans with their wish for a cross-over film with both of the leading ladies.