“It’s not an issue of Hollywood, it’s an issue of culture. I mean, I am a Black woman from Central Falls, Rhode Island. I’m dark skinned, I’m quirky, I’m shy, I’m strong, I’m guarded, I’m weak at times, I’m sensual, I’m not overtly sexual. I am so many things in so many ways and I will never see myself on screen. I actually had a person walk up to me once and say ‘So what person from history do you want to be? Do you want to [just play strong characters]?’ I had to stop them and say ‘Just write a story. Just take a risk and tell the most fantastical story that you’ve ever wanted to tell and then put it in my lap, or Octavia’s (Spencer) Lap, Or Cicely Tyson’s lap, or Angela Bassett’s Lap.’ There are few movies coming out this year with African-American women in them. Very few are being made. Black actresses have enough obstacles in our way without someone protesting an opportunity to show our work on screen. It’s one thing if you go see “The Help” and you don’t like it, but Give it a chance!”
– Viola Davis (Star of The Help)
Ms. Davis, I still remember the role you played in Doubt. I went to see it in the theater on the strength of the acclaim you received for your role in the movie alone. I ache for you and your fellow Black actresses and empathize as best I can with your struggle. Ironically, the fact that The Help will do spectacularly well this weekend makes a part of me happy. Because it allows me to opt out even as the movie exceeds all expectations and still allows me to hold out hope that someone will give you a chance to play a significant part in a movie I want to see. This particular part is rather pie in the sky but keeping hope alive is a large makes being Black tolerable.
I don’t believe anyone should protest or boycott your movie. I do believe we as consumers must hold dear our right to not accept less than what we deserve for our money. The Fact of the matter is, Walt Disney is selling this not just as a nice story…but in the words of The Help producer Brunson Green, “This is African-American Women’s story” . (EW, August 12, 2011 page 37)
As the grandson AND Son of “The Help”, someone who as recently as 1991 was picking up Black women from white women’s houses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and listening to their stories, some of whom had logged in as many as fifty years of “Helping” I can say with near certainty that Brunson Green, book author Kathryn Stockett, and movie director Tate Taylor (all white Jackson, MS residents) are ill-suited to tell that story in a way that truly represents African-American women. for THIS reason
But as for you, Ms. Davis, as well as your Sisters in your industry, I wish you all the success you deserve, and should you be nominated for an award, as I certainly believe is possible, given what I have heard thus far…I hope you win. I hope this movie brings you (and your co-stars) every bit of success humanly possible. But Disney cannot have my money. If you see me in the street, remind me of this article and I will give you the 15 dollars my trip would have cost me Personally.
I support you…I will not support Walt Disney in this endeavor.
As a Heterosexual Black male who has had his own Sexual preference questioned, by former mates on an occasion or two( yes, more than one and yes more than once), I have always felt a certain kinship with Black men who fall outside of the Masculine mainstream.
Granted I thought he was all manner of Meh in his job, but the game is the game. Its not like hes Luke Russert. He’s AIGHT.
Anyway, The bottom line is this… Coming out of the closet is a far bigger deal than a mere mortal Heterosexual Black Man can contemplate. Even a quasi-renaissance Heterosexual Black man like me.
I am in his corner, even I don’t exactly understand why.
Allow me to paint a not so hypothetical scenario for you…
A middle aged white man decides to demonstrate that he is clearly in need of a significant level of professional help from a mental health specialist by Launching an gun attack on a group of women in a Pittsburgh Fitness center.
As fate would have it…We know why he did it because he was considerate enough to leave a note outlining his hatred for women.
Later…a blog of his was found in which he delves into some bizarre unhip dialect of ebonics where he decides to sentence white women to a lifetime of impalement and general abuse by Black Penises. He figured that since we had conquered the White House (thanks to the Liberal Media, of course) that we could be his useful idiots and screw white women the way he thinks Obama will screw the country.
Oh…you DON’T believe me?
In light of this I got ideas outside of Obama’s plans for the economy and such. Here it is: Every black man should get a young white girl hoe to hone up on. Kinda a reverse indentured servitude thing. Long ago, many a older white male landowner had a young Negro wench girl for his desires. Bout’ time tables are turned on that shit. Besides, dem young white hoez dig da bruthrs! LOL. More so than they dig the white dudes! Every daddy know when he sends his little girl to college, she be bangin a bruthr real good. I saw it. “Not my little girl”, daddy says! (Yeah right!!) Black dudes have thier choice of best white hoez. You do the math, there are enough young white so all the brothers can each have one for 3 or 6 months or so.
*cues the horrible scratch of the record in my head*
What did my penis do to get inserted into this situation. Don’t Black men and their penises (Penii?) get enough drama for the issues they actually involve themselves in without Getting added in as accessories after the fact?
I was out in the streets for most of today, so I only heard snippets from the army of talking heads referencing racism and Obama.
Now, I am not exactly a mental health specialist, although I’ve been known to perpetrate one on Twitter.
Suffice to say whenever a straight white man fantasizes about white women being savaged sexually by Black men, it is bound to cause attention.
As the OWNER of a black penis…I confess that I am just a weeeeeeeee (Penile Punnishness alert) bit uncomfortable with the insertion (theres another one) of my penis into such a tragedy.
The unfortunate reality is that the mere presence of a Black Penis, no matter how incidental to the topic, can tilt the focus towards the penis. In this series, I will address some of my own suspicions and issues with black penises. (Penii?)
As I ponder the penis for way more time than I have any business doing…I would encourage you to post in the comments sections particular questions and comments for me to address.
More on this tomorrow.
In case you find yourself reading this post and thinking…I’ve read this before; you have.
I wrote it for my previous blog.
Its just as true now as it was then.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The most unfortunate thing about the war between Black men and Black women is the fact that it rages on whether there are headlines to follow or not. As we speak some blogger somewhere is waxing eloquent as to how it is that the other sex just doesn’t get it, piling on anecdotes and embellishing and embracing stereotypes. Of course that is how adversity is. Well that is how it is supposed to be anyway. The moment brothers stop trying to rein in the SuperWomen they discover, turning them into Relics from an era gone by, will be the moment Women will stop feeling emasculated. Yes, brothers, if you stumble upon a multi-degreed head of household with her pedicured foot in corporate America’s ass, attempting to turn her into (yeah..i DARE you to find a Black woman who embodied the kind of character Donna Reed or June Cleaver represented on TV) is going to feel a lot like emasculation. and NO ONE, even a WOMAN, wants to be emasculated.
Let us be clear. The second half of the 20th century put the Black woman in an awkward position. It made HER the hunter gatherer, cause nurturing doesn’t put food on the table in enough quantity to keep up with the rapidly rising standard of living. Sacrifices were made, and the overall mindset of the black woman evolved as she started to embrace a role she….(deep breath) was not created to play.
Let me stop here and elaborate.
Men and Women are EQUAL…but they are not the same.
Equal does NOT mean the same.
IF you think it does, try slipping 2 rolls of quarters under a stripper’s G string instead of a 20 and see how far THAT gets you.
(yes i admit i drove this whole post JUST so I could type one of my favorite analogies. now back to my subject)
Women have become more like men than they were ever intended.
While many in my rapidly expanding circle have a tendency to eschew overt Scriptural references…allow me to be QUITE specific:
Ephesians 5: 22-33 Amplified version
22Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.
23For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.
24As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,
27That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].
28Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
29For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
30Because we are members (parts) of His body.
31For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
32This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church.
33However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [[a]that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and [b]that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly]. [I Pet. 3:2.]
As you may or may not have read, I got married in May of 1997, at the not all that tender age of 26. The above scripture was not only read, but a sermonette was PREACHED on that passage DURING my wedding. (it should be noted that full fledged church was held on that day, a soul got saved, both the bride and the groom caught some semblence of the Spirit and it ran the wedding a full hour over schedule, which cost the groom a not all that nominal overtime fee for the limo. All that there, didnt sink in, obviously, because my dumbass was up to my elbows in a relative stranger not ONE year later.
You might ask why that was, and why I was able to live to tell the tale, especially considering the fact that my then-wife was 2+ months pregnant with our first child. Youll have to trust me that I had my reasons and that I was spared for good cause. I am only pointing this factoid out to let you know that I am NOT without sin.
That I am MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, better at deciphering YOUR problems and how you should HANDLE YOUR BI than I am at regulating what happens in these here parts.
I KNEW what was expected of me. I DID not know what I was getting myself into.
- I did not know that somehow Married men are more attractive than single men.
- I did not suspect that some people in the world think NOTHING of bedding someone else’s spouse.
- I thought I was bigger than my desire to touch and be touched by a woman.(I may be NOW…i damn sure wasn’t then…and I probably still am not.)
- I underestimated the ability of a woman (one woman in particular) to hold a grudge.
- I completely misunderstood the enduring, never ending damage of infidelity. Infidelity is SOOOO BAD, that women you DIDNT cheat on will look at you askance when you tell them you had a one night stand almost 8 years ago with a woman you no longer converse with while you were married.
I am of the overall opininon that 90% of premarital counseling classes are a joke.
Think about it, You spend your entire relationship trying to avoid the very issues that could probably lead to the death of your relationship, when those are the VERY issues you need to approach head on. Once you do that, how can you proceed on some kind of schedule, knowing that around every corner is a discovery about each other that will challenge everything you know about that person.
Marriage is a wonderful and powerful institution. It is older than Communion and baptism and the very bedrock to culture as we know it. Getting it right is the difference between one nation under a groove and one nation under God, Indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Of all the roles that I embrace, and I have enough to fill a Business Card holder, my role as a father is paramount. As the father of not one, not two, but now three young black boys, it becomes painfully apparent as I watch the news that the worth of the lives I have brought into the world is much greater to me than it is to the society in which they come of age. My third son is due in a month or so. This will mark the third Black Male I have brought into the world since Troy Davis was sentenced to Death in Georgia.
I confess that Mr. Davis’ plight has not been particularly high on my radar. I am not especially informed in a unique and insightful way on the particulars.
But I am acutely aware that in this society, with the criminal justice system in the condition it is in, Today’s Troy Davis could be tomorrow’s David, David, Devan or Dalen Parrish.
These injustices happen on all of our watch.
I challenge you to read the details of this injustice and remain silent. To do so betrays your humanity, just so you know.
Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state’s non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.
One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester “Red” Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.
In a time where social media allows people to gather the power of consensus so quickly and inform the masses with the power of numbers, The Story of Troy Davis must be told and retold to avoid the story being repeated with new names and new details.
It’s serious as cancer.
Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, rejected Burris’ appointment on Monday because Burris’ certificate of appointment was missing the signature of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, an aide to the secretary said.
Rule 2 of the Standing Rules of the Senate states that the secretary of state must sign the certificate of election along with the governor.
White has declined to sign the certificate, siding with some Senate Democrats who say Burris should not be seated because of the cloud over Blagojevich.
Senate Democrats have said they would not seat Burris because he was appointed by Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of scheming to sell the Senate seat.
The focus of all this Bullshit is on the wrong person.
Someone tell Jesse White to stop Hating and sign the damn appointment so his state can have TWO senators.
I will be shanking Mr. Secretary as soon as I get hold of what his angle is supposed to be.
One of the great ironies in any legislative branch is the fact that in order to get a certain amount of pull for your district, your representative needs seniority. In order to get seniority, they spend a lot of time fund-raising and deal making, which in turn makes them a typical grimy politician and in turn makes you get the urge to vote them out.
Then you’re reminded that if you DO put them out (especially if you are dealing with a Rep of color) you have to go through the whole hassle of having a representative with no experience finding his way while you have little to no influence on the general scene.
This is the cruel cycle of the legislative branch, where EVERYONE ELSE’S Congressman/State Rep/City Councilman is a crook and yours is just handling biz.
But what about when The proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan and even those of us OUTSIDE the district are affected. What do you do when YOUR rep is a Heavy Hitter and his potential doom affects the whole country?
Let us dispense with the hypotheticals and get on with the reality.
Charlie Rangel might be looking for a shovel these days. The flurries started last summer as a series of embarrassing revelations. Among them was the fact that Rangel was occupying four rent-controlled apartments simultaneously in Upper Manhattan, and that his tax returns — Rangel is the chairman of the tax code–writing House Ways and Means Committee — were such a mess that he was hiring a “forensic auditor” to figure out why he had failed to report $75,000 in rental income from a villa in the Dominican Republic. Adding to the tangle of questions was the fact that, even as he was living in those New York apartments and being charged less than half what they would cost on the going market, Rangel was claiming a homestead exemption on a house he owns in Washington, D.C.
All of that might be written off as small lapses, or even just sloppiness. But any snickering stopped last week, when the New York Times reported that Rangel had been “instrumental” in preserving a lucrative tax loophole that benefited an oil-drilling company whose chief executive had pledged $1 million to a school of public service named for Rangel at City College of New York CCNY). Now the doubts surrounding Rangel have grown to the point that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is worried they will linger past Barack Obama’s inauguration and into the dawn of the new Democratic era. She issued a statement the day before Thanksgiving saying she expects the House Ethics Committee to complete its initial inquiry into Rangel — an investigation that the chairman called for himself — by Jan. 3.
What are you going to do?