Monthly Archives: July 2011

“The Help”: Is it just me or…

…are black people not feeling this movie trailer?  I’ve witnessed a very conflicted reaction to the trailer of the new movie “The Help” recently, in a movie theater that was filled with black folk.  Conflicted is the best way I can describe the mix of disgust and curiosity.  Am I surprised? No. It’s 2011, but the subject matter and images still sting.  Nothing like a dark-skinned black woman serving white folks in a maids uniform…in a period movie…set in the deep south.  Sigh.  Especially when it centers around a classic white savior character.  Since it takes place during the Civil Rights era, I think the author could have done a better job of developing the black lead character.  However, would Hollywood even make such a movie if it didn’t have a white lead?  I don’t know.

Unlike a lot of people I know, I read the book last year.  I can see how the movie trailer is off-putting without the book as reference.  I had some problems with the book, but overall I thought it was a decent read given the full context of who wrote it and the back story presented.  At times, reading it was heart wrenching for me as a black woman whose family is from Mississippi (mom’s side) and who’s great-grandmother was a maid for several white families.  Parts of the story were plain old scary, as racism sometimes is.

I don’t know for sure how this movie is going to be received by the black community.  I think Michele Wallace’s recent review in Essence is dead on (if they post it to the site, I’ll link to it).  In my opinion, this is not going to be a celebrated movie (like “The Color Purple”), but I’m glad that great actresses like Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson are taking on the roles in this film so that they are played with dignity.

One more point that doesn’t help: A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel, and Objects – Yep, a black maid, named Ablene, that worked for Kathryn Stockett’s older brother is suing her.  Dag! At least name the main black character in your book something other than your brother’s REAL, black maid’s name.  Come on!  To add insult, the woman says that part of the storyline was taken from her life.

NY Times | “Ablene Cooper, a 60-year-old woman who has long worked as a maid here, has filed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel “The Help,” about black maids working for white families in Jackson in the 1960s.

In the complaint, Ms. Cooper argues that one of the book’s principal characters, Aibileen Clark, is an unpermitted appropriation of her name and image, which she finds emotionally distressing.

It is more complicated than that. For the past dozen years, Ms. Cooper has worked for Ms. Stockett’s older brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Carroll, and still does.

“Ain’t too many Ablenes,” Ms. Cooper said at a law office after a day’s work at the Stocketts, for whom she has helped raise two children. Ms. Cooper also said that she had their support in her legal quest.

“What she did, they said it was wrong,” Ms. Cooper said of the Stocketts, members of a prominent Jackson family. “They came to me and said, ‘Ms. Aibee, we love you, we support you,’ and they told me to do what I got to do.””

Quote from Viola Davis in the August issue of Essence magazine:

”Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message… As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences – experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”


Filed under african american, black, black women, celebrity, civil rights, history, hollywood, media, opinion, race, racism, society, women, youtube

If you call a friend after killing a black man, saying “I just ran that n-word over.”…

…It’s a damn hate crime!  Sometimes, I can’t stand BET’s news reporting online.  I really can’t.

BET, This should not be the title of a post about what happened to James Anderson in Jackson, MS.  All of the details noted in the article point to an obvious hate crime. Sure, sure allegedly. Sprinkle the word “allegedly” around.  Fine.

Mess. Hot Trailer Park Mess.

Call it what it is.


Filed under african american, black, civil rights, news, opinion, race, television, why

Thoughts on the Casey Anthony Trail aka. Sit Down, Nancy Grace!

I didn’t get into the Casey Anthony Trial too much.  I thought it was a tragedy on many different levels, and the media circus just turned me off.  I cared, but there are hundred of children who are killed, molested, etc. everyday and no one is putting their stories on the cover of magazines, or dedicating whole broadcasts to their memory.  American Hypocrisy…we’re all guilty.

Anyway.  Every child is precious.  That’s my point.

Now…on the Casey Anthony Trial, I have these points;

  • Casey Anthony Defense Attorney Flips Off Media Following Verdict – BWAHAHAHAH!  Too funny.
  • If you say the defendant was a party girl, then you must have proof that will stand up against a whole gang of witnesses who say she was a good mother.  You have to have proof.  Remember.  Law school and all.  Sigh…
  • I believe the allegations of sexual molestation against George Anthony.  I think the grandfather may have been touching Caylee.  Don’t be fooled by old age and a suit people.  I think some sick shit was going on that family.  Casey needs some help.  Remember victims are more prone to stay victims.  Also, you never know what a woman will do to protect her child.  Some slave women would rather kill their children than let them be taken.  You think a woman who’d been molested and was mentally disturbed wouldn’t consider taking her child’s life instead of seeing her be abused?
  • Why didn’t the prosecutor go for manslaughter in the first place?
  • Why was the prosecutor laughing during the closing arguments?  I KNOW that didn’t help his case in the eyes of the jury.
  • Who paid for Casey Anthony’s defense?  I know old boy was expensive.
  • Did prosecutor Ashton think he was going to make a name for himself with this case?  You know the answer is yes.
  • Oh, I was cracking up when the judge called the guy up to the front who flipped bird.  That was funny.
  • Why are people even wondering what would have happened if she was black?  This is not the O.J. Trail, people!  There have been a lot of public cases of white women killing their kids.  Some go to jail, some have gotten off on mental illness.  This is not new.  There is racism in America, and we know this.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to witness a black family in this particular drama.
  • I think Nancy Grace has reached a new level of bitch-assed-ness?  She is just a pundit for profit, in my opinion.  I really don’t think she genuinely cares.  Think of all the people she really could help.  Nope, just a TV personality.  I don’t know why people expect her to be on the level of a real lawyer who is practicing the law.

Well, that’s all I have to say about that.  What do you guys think?


Filed under abuse, children, crime, drama, law, news, opinion, white folks, women, youth

Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

I don’t know about you, but a movie featuring mildly thought out black female slave characters who are repeatedly raped at a club for white slave owners is not my idea of a great film.  I don’t want to see a female slave raped in front of her husband.  I don’t want to see her tortured and degraded…or locked in a cage naked.  OH and I’m not too keen about this content combined with a whole lot of other blaxploitation style slave torture (Whippings, beatings, etc).

What am I talking about?  Django Unchained.  The upcoming Quentin Tarantino film set to be released in Dec 2012 that black women need to start protesting now.  I mean really!!  We need to get on this, SIS. (I’m not going to even start on how I’m not for this movie coming out the month after Obama wins…again.  Let’s be real, no black person will want to see this if he loses either.)  Remember when Disney tried to give the first Black Princess the name “Maddy” (Too close to Mammy)?  Yep, WE got that changed and that wasn’t as bad as this.

Some sistas are ready to organize: “If all goes as the leaked script has planned for this “comedy”, audiences will get to see the character “Broomhilda”, an enslaved Black woman, naked for almost her entire time on screen, flashing her breasts on a slave auction block, and graphically raped – repeatedly – throughout the movie, at least 4 or 5 times, by individual and groups of white men. It’s also reported that this character is degraded in other ways throughout the movie, like being doused in mud, locked in a cage, and raped in front of her husband. Supposedly, all in good fun. And judging from Tarantino’s history of extremely graphic and offensive imagery in his past “comedic” works such as “Pulp Fiction”, the imagery used to degrade Black women in this so-called “comedy” will not be lighthearted fare. ” (Stop The Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women)

The script leaked and the reviews are all over the internet from those who have seen it.  Sure, Sure, a script can change and this one should if what I’m reading is correct.  Jamie Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington have been named as potential actors interested (Here is a list of the roles in the movie).  I don’t think they would sign on to something as terrible as what I’ve read, but you never know.  The economy is bad.  Hell, Jamie did star in “Booty Call”.  He’s apparently up for the lead role.  Funny thing, people who’ve read the script are saying that the lead is not the “Mandigo”/Nat Turner role people think it’s going to be.  He’s playing second fiddle most of the film to a German bounty hunter who takes him under his wing.  Think of Tommy Lee Jones working with Will Smith’s character in Men in Black…but make Will a slave.  Yeah, something like that.  A slave revolt/retribution movie with a white male lead as the star.  That’s Hollywood.

Shadow and Act says: “I’ve Read Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” Script, And, Well, It’s Not Nat Turner’s Revolt…”

“Speaking of its blaxploitation influences… regarding the lead female character in this, named Broomhilda, Django’s slave wife, whom he’s separated from, and seeks. She’s the lead female in the film, but her part is limited to really just physicalities. She has the most screen time of any other woman in the film, which is why I call her the lead female character, but, really, there’s no Shosanna in this one, as there was in Inglorious Basterds. The black female “lead” here doesn’t get the same kind of dignified treatment that Tarantino gave Shosanna. Not even close. Yes, I know it’s a different time altogether, but, I’m sure he could have afforded Broomhilda some complexities, and maybe even made her a heroine in her own right.

There are some 4 or 5 scenes in which the she’s, shall we say, “exposed”… i.e. naked; and they felt gratuitous to me; 2 in which she’s raped by white men. When we first meet her, she’s on the auction block and asked to bare her breasts to potential buyers; later, she’s chased through a hotel, through hallways, and lobbies, etc, by a slave master, completely naked, after being woken up from sleep, with a whip across her naked body; and still later, she’s locked up naked in a steel box as punishment for trying to run away. Yes, I’m sure these are all scenarios that very well likely could have played out at the time; however, Tarantino could have opted to depict her in another light altogether, but instead chose this less flattering, exploitative one.”

I feel a campaign a-brewing to get the makers of this flick to scrap some of that exploitative sexual violence towards black women.   Oh and I’m sure that people (Spike Lee) will be mad about use of the N-word.  It will be Roots all over again for some of you, since it’s a period piece. If people thought there were a lot of N-words thrown around in “Jackie Brown” or “Pulp Fiction”, they haven’t seen anything yet.

I hope the script is a dry run because the concept his potential.  Hey, I’m up for a slaves vs. masters revenge movie.  Sure Quentin, show or all the brutality and violence.  Put it in people’s faces.  However, historical accuracy doesn’t call for this level of sexual violence against black women.  It’s not funny.  It’s in bad taste.


Filed under african american, black history, black men, black women, celebrity, drama, media, n-word, news, opinion, race, racism, rape, sex, slavery, stereotype, women