I have no idea how the Army War College of 1925 came to the ludicrous and
decidedly racist conclusion that we as Black people are “inferior”, “cowardly” and unfit
for combat or how they based these things on our “evolution.” Guess they completely
disregarded our participation in the American Revolution or the Civil War. And unfor-
tunately, in the 21st century there are still certain individuals with this same attitude.
Thank God movies like Red Tails simply blows all of these conclusions and attitudes into
As an African-American, naturally I was overjoyed that a feature length movie
had been made about the Tuskegee Airman, confirming the fact that our history is much
more comprehensive than just slavery and Civil Rights. I was generally elated at the par-
ticular show I attended where we had a packed, as well as mixed, audience of Blacks and
Whites. There was even a respectful applause when the movie ended.
George “Star Wars” Lucas, whose recent announcement to finally retire is almost
as absurd as that 1925 War College study, had a sincere passion to bring this story to the
big screen for over twenty years. If Red Tails is his final hurrah(not counting the re-re-
lease of all six Star Wars movies in 3D), he’s gone out in a supernova.
It’s 1944, and for the last three years after immense pressure from Civil Rights or-
Ganizations ,the Army Air Corps has conducted the “Tuskegee Experiment” to see if
African-American men actually have the ability to be trained as fighter pilots and fight in
World War 2. Despite their best efforts, racism and segregation are still barriers to their
true mettle in air to air combat. Even among some high ranking generals. No surprise they
had two wars to contend with, the one against hateful Nazis and the one against a hateful
Terrence Howard portrays Colonel A.J. Bullard, supreme commander of the all
Black squadron stationed in Italy. His grit determination serves as the proverbial back-
bone that gets his boys the forward missions they need to ultimately prove themselves;
those missions being, to protect the bombers and their crews from marauding German
Second in command is Major Stance played with a pipe-smoking, almost McAr-
thurish attitude by Cuba Gooding Jr. “Hold your heads up. You’re fighter pilots”, he
affirms during one meeting. His encouragement seems infectious, a beacon of hope re-
assuring our heroes that although their Black, their still a part of the American military.
No matter what others may think of them.
When Major General Luntz (Gerald McRaney) expresses his frustrations before Bul-
lard regarding “absentee” escorts for their bombers, the Tuskegee Airman are given their
first real challenge. The catch, put the bombers before themselves. These “negroes” who
are supposedly so “cowardly”, have no problem with that. It’s simply awe inspiring when
they huddle up, pray before the mission and let loose with a victorious chant that makes
you want to join in.
Supported by a colorful (no pun intended) and talented cast, including rap stars Ne-
Yo and Method Man, Red Tails has all the requisite friendships, character conflicts and
racial issues the real Tuskegee Airman experienced every day. There are especially per-
sonal issues/contentions between Nate Parker’s ‘Easy’ Julian and David Oyelowo’s
‘Lightning’ Little who try so hard to remain friends despite their disagreements.
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston is admirably distasteful as racist Colonel Mor-
tamus whose feelings about Bullard’s “boys” won’t change regardless of their suc-
cess or failure. But McRaney’s General Luntz more than sufficiently counterbalances
these feelings, putting the success of bombing missions first before skin color.
I was so glad to see many parents bringing their kids to see this movie, because
Red Tails is a monumental testament to some of the best fighter pilots in the world. They
fought for a nation, physically, that would not fight for them socially. In spite of heavy
adversity, the courageous Tuskegee Airman went on to victory and were honored for
their achievements. Amen.