General News

"Barbershop" Will Keep Barbs

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Sep 26, 2002 | 9:48am EDT

Filmmakers of the nation's No. 1 comedy Barbershop, which features Ice Cube, Anthony Anderson and Cedric the Entertainer, have come under fire from black leaders for the film's barbs about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and other figures in the black community.

Barbershop producers Bob Teitel and George Tillman told The Associated Press Monday that they had apologized to Rev. Jesse Jackson on behalf of everyone involved with the film.

Jackson, however, said that while the apology was a step in the right direction, they must go further and remove the scenes from the video, DVD and cable versions.

Al Sharpton, meanwhile, said he would call for a boycott of the film if the studio does not apologize by Friday or make changes to any future video versions.

But MGM said Wednesday it will not make any changes to its box office topper Barbershop to pander to the wishes of Jackson and Sharpton.

The studio said in a statement, "MGM stands behind Barbershop, its filmmakers, and artists, and we have no intention of altering the film in any way. We're proud to have a movie with such a positive and uplifting overall message that audiences throughout the U.S. have embraced. The filmmakers have obviously struck a winning chord with critics and audiences alike, and we are ready to work on a sequel."

In Barbershop, Ice Cube plays the owner of a barbershop handed down to him by his father. Over the course of the film, his character Calvin comes to realize how valuable the shop really is.

The hubbub centers on a two-minute scene in which Cedric the Entertainer's character belittles the efforts of civil rights activist Rosa Parks by saying she "ain't did nothing but sit her black a** down." His character Eddie goes on to describes Jackson and King using profanity.

The remarks are part of a long diatribe in which Eddie also takes jabs at O.J. Simpson and Rodney King.

Barbershop has been the box office champ for the past two weeks, taking in nearly $39 million in 10 days of release.

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