In 8 Mile Future was referred to as an Uncle Tom, which is a derogatory term meant to criticise him for his friendship with white protagonist, B-Rabbit.
Arguably one of the best cult-classic films of the 2000s which told a story inspired by the life of acclaimed musician, Eminem, is 2002’s 8 Mile.
Featuring Marshall “Eminem” Mathers in the title role of Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr, the story was loosely based on the real-life events of the rapper and his rise to stardom.
Moreover, in the world of the film, his friendship with Future, Cheddar Bob, and Sol George is, in part, the reason for his success, as they believed in him more than he believed in himself.
This earned Future the nickname of an Uncle Tom, a derogatory term used to belittle or berate African Americans who are friends with and sometimes apologists for their white friends.
Mekhi Phifer almost did not audition for the role
Acclaimed actor, Mekhi Phifer, is the man behind the portrayal of David “Future” Porter on 8 Mile, and while it may be hard to imagine anyone else playing the role, Phifer almost did not audition for the role.
The reason for this was his fears at the time when he had to fly to Detroit to audition for the role.
Just days before the 9/11 terrorist attack had happened, and as a New York resident, the actor was scared to get on the plane, considering how recently the historical event had taken place.
8 Mile: Why is Future an “Uncle Tom”?
One of 8 Mile’s most referenced characters is Future and the fact that he was referred to as an Uncle Tom during the final battle between B-Rabbit and the leader of the Free World, Papa Doc.
B-Rabbit makes the reference during his freestyle when he details all the things that he was previously bullied for. Therefore, during his freestyle, he says, “My boy Future is an Uncle Tom.”
In order to understand the meaning of the term, it is important that you understand its origins. The term stems from the era of racial segregation in the United States.
It was a term that was used to describe African Americans who were believed to have been white apologists or African Americans who justified the racially unjust actions of their white friends.
As such, when B-Rabbit used the term, it was not to discredit his friend. Especially since Future was the one who secretly signed him up for the final rap battle with Papa Doc, where he won the respect of the crowd and got over “choking” during their first battle.
B-Rabbit using the term was owning that Future supported him fully, despite the fact that it resulted in Future being ridiculed as an Uncle Tom by members of the Free World.
Where to watch 8 Mile?
Is Future a real person?
Similarly to how Eminem is the inspiration for Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith, Future’s character in the film is fictional but based almost entirely on a real person in Eminem’s life.
The character is reported to have been inspired by Slim Shady’s real-life best friend, Proof. Fans highlighted that during Proof’s cameo feature in the film, he worked his name into the rap he shared with B-Rabbit.
Who did Proof play in 8 Mile?
Proof, who is Eminem’s real-life best friend and the person who inspired the character of Future in 8 Mile, made a cameo in the film.
The best friend and fellow rapper played Lil Tic, the who character is most memorable as the first rapper during the rap battles at The Shelter against B-Rabbit.
Fans of the film were able to pick up that during his freestyle, Lil Tic incorporated his actual rap name and identity into the rap, by rapping the line, “I’ll (p)unish (r)abbit (o)r (o)bsolete (f)uture.”
Did Eminem write his raps for 8 Mile?
In addition to writing his own raps, he also freestyled some of the moments in the rap battles. It was reported that initially, he had written some bars that were recorded and he was just meant to mime the lyrics during filming.
However, upon hearing the raps by the other rappers, he changed his mind and started actually freestyling during his film battles with other rappers in the film.