Has Hollywood really become more progressive and changed for the better for black women? The white liberals in Hollywood and the white media claim this is true. My question is, what message did the Academy send by giving Octavia Spencer an Oscar for playing a mammy in The Help?
Is Octavia Spencer’s Oscar victory really progress? In 1940, Hattie McDaniel won the best supporting actress Oscar for playing mammy in the racist film Gone with the wind.
In Gone with the wind Hattie McDaniel’s character mammy was overweight, a loudmouth, fiery, and aggressive.
I cringe when I hear Hattie say “I am a credit to my race” in the speech because she didn’t write it. The racist Academy wrote Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar speech.
The NAACP and other black civil rights groups criticized Hattie McDaniel for consistently accepting the mammy roles in Hollywood films.
McDaniel was not allowed to sit with her white co-stars during the Oscar ceremony she had to sit at the back. McDaniel was also barred from the premiere of Gone with the wind. I can understand McDaniel winning the Oscar because the year 1940 America was still a hostile place for black people. The civil rights movement did not start until the 1950s. McDaniel didn’t have a choice in 1939 she either worked as a maid in films or she would be unemployed.
Seventy two years after Hattie McDaniel won another black woman Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for her role as mammy in the racist film The Help. Spencer’s character Minny is the black sapphire she is hot-tempered, angry, overweight, and of course a maid.
The Academy claims to be progressive yet gives black females continue to win Oscars for racist and sexist stereotypical roles.
When will a black woman win an Oscar for a dignified role when she isn’t wearing a maid’s uniform?
I am sure Spencer is thrilled she won an Oscar but again at what cost? Does Octavia Spencer really believe her career is going to magically improve because of The Help?
Former black Oscar winners such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Halle Berry, MoNique, Jamie Foxx, careers have fallen off since they won the Oscar.
If a black woman is full-figured, dark-skinned, and not light-skinned with a model figure like Halle Berry she probably will not obtain respectable film roles.
The black maid is a palatable image that white Hollywood loves black women to conform to.
For people who don’t know the racist stereotype of the mammy emerged during slavery. Mammy worked for the white master in the house and mammy was also raped by the white man as well. Mammy was loving, asexual, selfless and devoted to white people.
I agree with Tavis Smiley’s argument, I am pleased that Viola and Octavia got nominated for Oscars but I am disappointed their roles in The Help were mammies!
I understand Viola’s argument that the black artist cannot always be noble but Hollywood has such a myopic and racist perspective about black women.
Viola knows she will never get the complex roles that the A list white actresses such as Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon get.
I see Viola’s perspective that black actors are also individuals and they have a right to choose the roles they want. However, I think Viola and Octavia need to be honest with themselves.
Black entertainers represent the black community and they must be cognizant of the roles they play.
Black women are consistently stereotyped as being nurturing, asexual, especially if the actress is dark-skinned and full-figured.
Viola and Octavia were forced to gain weight for their roles in The Help. Kathryn Stockett’s novel is so racist and filled with such negativity and contempt for black women and the movie is worse.
The Help is some Disney sugar coated attempt to white wash America’s racist history!
White Hollywood is a very racist liberal place that claims to be progressive. However, there hasn’t been much progress for black women in the year 2012 because Viola and Octavia are being celebrated
for playing maids!
In the year 1940, Hattie McDaniel won the best supporting Oscar for her role as mammy in Gone with the Wind.
Now over seventy years later Viola and Octavia are being praised by white Hollywood for their roles as mammies in The Help. Where are the quality good roles for black women? Black women are treated
terribly by the film industry they are either maids, mammies or whores like Halle Berry’s character Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball.
Why can’t a black actress have a three-dimensional role where she is not subservient to a white person? Why can’t a black woman be a doctor, teacher, police officer, lawyer, president, in a movie?
Well done Agnieszka she wins her eighth WTA tour title and will become the new world number five next week Monday! Agnieszka doesn’t have the power game of the other top women but she wins with her consistency. Radwanska reminds me of a young Martina Hingis she has an excellent all court game and she uses the geometry of the court. Good job!
Link to Phoenix New Times Shocking Article about Paul Babeu hypocrisy and intimidating his ex Mexican gay lover.
I am concerned about the representation of Kal and Tariq’s relationship on LA Complex. I am cognizant that Kal is a rapper in the closet but why does Kal and Tariq’s relationship have to be abusive? Why does Kal beat Tariq that’s not love that’s domestic violence!
Why are black men being depicted as violent? I think violence at the end is weird and abhorrent!
Why does Kal have to be a rap artist? I think that’s just lazy writing so a black gay man has to be on the down low? Give me a break! Why couldn’t Kal and Tariq be country western singers or something else? I don’t know but the whole hip hop industry thing reeks of racism.
One argument is the writers of LA Complex are illustrating gay relationships can be toxic and violent just like heterosexual relationships.
However, since there is a paucity of black gay men on television aren’t the LA Complex writers reinforcing racist and sexist stereotypes about black gay men?
Are the writers of LA Complex trying to say black gay love is violent? Would the writers of LA Complex write a white gay couple in this negative light? I doubt two white gay guys would have a violent relationship on Canadian television.
White homosexual characters in films and on television are depicted as loving and romantic. By contrast, a black gay couple’s relationship is depicted as abusive which makes me sick!
I abhor violence and to see Tariq in a pool of blood at the end of the scene makes me want to vomit!
February 12, 2012, 9:30 PM
Whitney Elizabeth Houston, 1963-2012
A look back at the star from one of her closest friends
BY ROBYN CRAWFORD
David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
I met her when she was 16. It was at a summer job. I was working at a community center in East Orange, New Jersey, and she was working just like the rest of us. She was there to work. She introduced herself as “Whitney Elizabeth Houston,” and I knew right away she was special. Not a lot of people introduced themselves with their middle names back then. She had peachy colored skin and she didn’t look like anyone I’d ever met in East Orange, New Jersey.
She was nothing like the Whitney Houston she became but at the same time she was already there. She knew, and so did everyone around her. She was doing shows in Manhattan with her mother, and she’d change her clothes in the car and get on stage and do her thing. She hadn’t signed her contract yet. But she was modeling for Wilhelmina because she was discovered on the street. She was walking in front of Carnegie Hall and someone walked up to her and said, “There’s a modeling agency upstairs that’s looking for someone just like you.” She walked upstairs and they signed her. That’s what it was like, that’s what she gave off. She looked like an angel. When my mother first met her, she laughed and said, “You look like an angel, but I know you’re not.” And she wasn’t. But she looked like one.
She chose the life she lived, and she chose it from the beginning. She knew the life better than anyone. Her mother was Cissy Houston, and she had been on the road with Dionne Warwick. She got her chops singing in church, and her mother said to her, “You know, you can always sing for free. You can always sing in church. You don’t have to choose the professional life.” But she chose because she’d been chosen. Some people sing just because. She was never like that. She had to put on her gear. She knew it was going to be a job and that’s how she treated it. Once she committed to something, she finished it. Not long after I met her, she said, “Stick with me, and I’ll take you around the world.” She always knew where she was headed.
And we went around the world. I was her assistant and then her executive assistant and then her creative director. I was her point person for the day-to-day. I traveled all around the world first-class and anyone who ever worked for her will tell you her checks never bounced. You knew she was going to take care of you. She wasn’t going to be in a five-star hotel while you were in a two. I flew the Concorde the way some people ride the bus. She shared the fruits, and she changed a lot of lives. The record company, the band members, her family, her friends, me — she fed everybody. Deep down inside that’s what made her tired.
It was never easy. She never left anything undone. But it was hard. The Bodyguard was great when it was done, but it was a lot of work. She did the movie, she did the music, she did everything — and when she was done, she was done. She nailed it. The music supervisor brought her Linda Ronstadt’s version of “I Will Always Love You” way before Kevin Costner brought Dolly Parton’s version — and she always knew what she could do with it. So when Kevin came in and played it for her and told her he wanted her to sing it for the movie, she said, “Fine.” She wasn’t much for showing off what she had, except when she had to.
I always compare her performance of that song with a great athlete hitting his peak — with Michael Jordan in the playoffs. It was the absolute pinnacle of what she could do, of what anyone could do — and then she had to keep on doing it. Everybody wanted to hear her sing that song, and so she sang it. It didn’t matter whether she had a cold, or wasn’t in good voice; she had to deliver it, and she had it arranged so she could deliver every last note. And even if the note wasn’t there, the feeling was. A lot of her songs were like that. They were a lot to deliver, but she delivered them every note, every time.
It’s so strange that she died when she did. February was her month. Her first album was released on Valentine’s Day, right around the time of the Grammys, right around the time of Clive Davis’s party. It was an orchestrated thing. She was Clive’s girl, his great discovery. And she died right before Valentine’s Day, right before the Grammys, right before Clive’s party. Of course, she was going. I don’t know if she was singing, I don’t know what kind of pressure she was putting on herself. But she was going, that’s for damned sure.
People thought they had to protect her. She hated that. And that’s what people don’t understand: She was always the one doing the driving. Someone just called and told me that the family kept Whitney from seeing her. Nobody kept Whitney from doing anything. She did what she wanted to do. When people left her or were told to leave, they could never believe that Whitney would never call them — but she never did. She was working hard to keep herself together, and I think she felt that if she admitted any feeling of sadness or weakness she would crumble. One time, back when we were young, we were out, we were partying, and I said, “Listen, I have to go. I’m tired. I can’t make it.” And she looked at me with her eyes wide and said, “I’ve got to make it.”
And that was Whitney. She could not pick up the phone, and that meant it was too painful. I have never spoken about her until now. And she knew I wouldn’t. She was a loyal friend, and she knew I was never going to be disloyal to her. I was never going to betray her. Now I can’t believe that I’m never going to hug her or hear her laughter again. I loved her laughter, and that’s what I miss most, that’s what I miss already.
I’m trying not to think of the end. I’m trying not to listen to all the reports. All these people talking about drugs — well, a lot of people take drugs, and they’re still around. Whitney isn’t, because you never know the way the wind blows. I just hope that she wasn’t in pain and that she hadn’t lost hope. She gave so much to so many people; I hope that she felt loved in return. She was the action, for such a long time. She’s out of the action now. I hope she can finally rest.
I am really proud of Wendy Williams she was so honest talking about her past problems with drug addiction. Wendy was so brave to speak about how difficult her drug addiction affected her life. I think Wendy never had Whitney Houston on her show because she felt Whitney wasn’t honest about her battle with drugs.