Sunday, March 7, 2010

For The Girls Who Are Not Precious


The Academy Awards come on tonight and I probably won’t be watching. I haven’t seen any of the movies up for nomination so I am really not interested. The movie Precious is up for all the major awards and I hope they win at least one. If Monique wins for Best Supporting Actress she will be crying about it for two years but I am willing to put up with that for her to get the award. You know I am all for stories that lead to black people receiving recognition but where is the balance? I’m not going to go into a rant about Precious and the images it sends out. First of all I haven’t seen the movie so it would be disingenuous of me to talk down about it. Second of all there are sisters that have lived through the kind of things that the young lady in the movie has and I never want to take away from the seriousness of that. I don’t have a problem with that story being told even if I choose not to watch it. My problem is that it seems like almost every major movie about African Americans has to be this triumph of the human spirit where the main character has to overcome something horrible. That’s the only time sisters can get nominated. It seems to be the only time they get any real recognition from the Hollywood establishment. Halle Berry won an Oscar for Monsters Ball. I have trouble watching that movie. I was watching the night she won and I was happy for her but I kept thinking that as beautiful and talented as she is it’s a damn shame she had to play a character like that to get nominated.

Maybe I am not qualified to talk about this because I am a man but I think images mean a lot and without some balance in there you have everyone thinking that every sister has circumstances of this magnitude she has to climb. There are some things you have to get over just from being black but not everyone has had a life so bad that it required a super human effort. Some sisters just grew up, went to school, got married, got a job and lived their lives. It’s to the point where some who never had rough times start talking like they did to give their accomplishments more value. You have people you grew up with talking about how nobody believed in them and they always felt ugly and you are looking confused because you don’t remember any of that happening. Deep down you want to tell them to stop trying to get sympathy for making things seem harder than they really were but if you do then you get jumped on for being insensitive and not understanding the plight of the black woman. To me women who do that are doing a disservice to the reality of our community. That would be like me telling all of you I sold drugs and had to get my life together because I come from the hood. I’m from the heart of activity in my neighborhood and I never sold drugs, got shot, or even rode in the back of a police car. Some of my friends did and some didn’t. What we don’t have is the balance between those two realities in the media. I would love to see a movie where black actors get nominated when the lead actress is a regular housewife, a professional woman with no baggage or a sergeant in the Army or something. If Precious wins tonight we will be in for a string of movies so depressing we will want to keep our daughters inside until they are 30.

4 comments:

Mz Flo said...

I fully appreciate your sentiments about this movie, although admittedly I have not seen it either. Interestingly enough Lee Daniels directed both Precious and Monster's Ball. :::cringe:::

However, in all fairness most of the movies that fall into the "Best Movie" category do have the same "We Shall Overcome" spirit to them, whether they are black, white, latino or asian. Somebody, somewhere, has done something to somebody else and now they'll show us all through their redemption!

Look at the following list of winners:

2008 SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

2007 NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

2006 THE DEPARTED

2005 CRASH

2004 MILLION DOLLAR BABY

2003 LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING

2002 CHICAGO

2001 A BEAUTIFUL MIND

2000 GLADIATOR

1999 AMERICAN BEAUTY

1998 SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE

1997 TITANIC

1996 THE ENGLISH PATIENT

1995 BRAVEHEART

1994 FORREST GUMP

1993 SCHINDLER'S LIST

1992 UNFORGIVEN

1991 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

With the exception of Lord of the Rings (I think??), everybody else was overcoming something or other.

But sharing the "middle of the road" folks' status with you Cliff (with the exception that I've been in the back of a squad car...several times :-O LOL), I know what you mean. The one saving grace for me is at least it's not "Booty Call" being nominated!

beautyjackson said...

Oh, there was definitely some "we shall overcome" in LOTR, and one of the best rally the troops speeches in history IMO.

The only black actress that I saw nominated in recent history that I didn't take as a total joke was Jennifer Hudson. She had to flex every muscle, both pinkie toes and her eyelashes to get a supporting actress nod. Halle Berry and Mo'Nique sort of make me feel like I'm being punked. They're in the same group with Meryl Streep?

Regarding your statement on sisters feeling that they have to embroider their history, there are a lot of internalized things at play. Being black, you pay a hefty price being different. That price could be having the balls to be different and being tortured for it; it could also be internalizing those differences and being terrified of being found out. That one is a tough call.

Anonymous said...

Good post bro.

I can't say I agree with every word but you express your feelings well enough that I can see your point.

There are so MANY stories in this world...

But it's kinda like the daily news casts. They always got the 411 on all the BAD/negative shyt and not a lot to say about the people who are ordinary.

But that kinda stuff ain't good for ratings. lol

(and what the hell? why is my word verification "fitynote"? what is a "fitynote"?)

- Mizzzz Bliss

Mz Flo said...

Correction: Lee Daniels produced Monster's Ball, produced AND directed Precious. Sorry for the confusion in the previous post.