Fat Suits and White Wigs: The Zeitgeist of America Through Film

You can tell great deal about a society by the kind of entertainment they enjoy. For instance, the film Amazing Graze, the story of William Wilberforce, came in 10th at the box office on its opening weekend.

William Wilberforce is the man responsible for the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom. He is a hero to many of us working in the modern-day abolitionist movement and living proof that even the unmovable can be moved. Wilberforce’s faith and courage are daily inspirations to me.

Therefore, I was extremely sad to read that the film came in 10th at the box office. It made $5 million less than the film Norbit (Eddie Murphy in a fat suit doing quasi-racist slapstick humor), in its 4th week of release.

America, what is happening to our zeitgeist? On one hand, we have a film about freedom and love and God and passion and the triumph of one human life. On the other hand, we have Eddie Murphy in a fat suit, and we choose the latter! Is this how we want the world to view us? Perhaps many Americans simply see Amazing Grace as a quaint, historical, but ultimately irrelevant look at British parliament. Perhaps they don’t know that there are over 27 million slaves in the world today, more than in Wilberforce’s time. Perhaps they don’t know that half of these victims are children.

 Slavery is as real today as it was in 1807. The makers of Amazing Grace have created the Amazing Change Campaign to help educate people about human trafficking and modern-day slavery. 

We Americans can vote- for a fat suit or a white wig, for meaningless fluff or significant change. We can be Wilberforce. Now that’s amazing.


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