Friday, February 10, 2012
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer on Tavis Smiley
OK. So, here is my official response to this conversation between Octavia, Viola, and Tavis that I posted earlier to Facebook:
I think Viola Davis has a point....Black people are far too concerned about image....and instead should be concerned about tearing down this goddamned system that we live in. Fuck the image, tear the shit up and rebuild.
I wonder if a lot of the protests over The Help doesn't contain elements of class shame. Blacks, overly concerned about image, are triggered by depictions of lower class Blacks working in white kitchens....as opposed to images of Martin Luther King or other, more affluent Blacks in retellings of history. These Black maids who worked in kitchens possess their own truths too....and their truths must be told and deserve to be heard. Now The Help is not perfect....but it does not demean or take away from the truths of these Black voices that should be heard.
That said, Hollywood.....and the entire American cultural scene.....is racist and should be torn apart and rebuilt.
However, I do have an addendum:
Tavis erred in his exchange with Octavia in the clip above. When Octavia pointed out to him that other ethnic groups don't have such a hard time seeing depictions of their past on screen (although, that's not completely true-Italians were up in arms over The Godfather), Tavis automatically jumped back in with a response concerning depictions of the Holocaust in films. This is not a true comparison....the comparison would be seeing generic Black movie The Maid on screen as opposed to seeing Fiddler on the Roof and other such depictions of Jewish life broadcast before the world....which got me to thinking, would Blacks who espouse such criticism be assuaged if we saw fifty different versions of Fiddler on the Roof on the big screen, with different different variations on the theme? I think not. But then the wheels in my head started to turn further and I began to wonder if Jews in the 19th century and early 20th century perhaps didn't have the same responses to cultural depictions of themselves as well. Perhaps the only difference in Generic Black movie The Maid and "Fiddler on the Roof" was that Fiddler on the Roof depicted the Jewish putz before the entire Broadway community-with its real effects felt no further than New York perhaps....Generic Black movie The Maid depicts the subservient Black woman before the entire world on a great big screen....oh time and technology...
Posted by Brandon at 6:56 PM