The Thing About Clueless

With Brittany Murphy on my mind, I fired up Clueless around midnight.I couldn't sleep, and figured that by the time I got to the "Rolling With The Homies" scene I'd be out. No dice. But one thing that always strikes me about Clueless is the seamless way they integrated black characters.

This comes up a lot when we talk about film, and think most of it comes down to the quality of the movie. Poorly drawn movies tend to depend on poorly drawn characters. And poorly drawn black characters almost always descend into stereotype and cartoon. Not that I'm an expert on Teen Movies, but I can't really think of another one--pre-Clueless--that had African-American kids in strong supporting roles, looking like we look, which is to say, like human beings.

Here's Siskel & Ebert offering their take back in the day.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In