Come on people….
Street Lit is not Shakespeare.
Dog Poop is not Creme Brulee.
Sammy Sosa isn’t fooling anybody with his skin shade change.
Rap Music does not enlighten OR uplift.
Of course there are always exceptions….you could send me to Elf School in Iceland so I can converse with Wood Nymphs after all.
I realize so many of us have tried to exist on a mere few drops of water when it comes to how we see ourselves, our heritage and finding our place in the world, but it’s nearly 2010. It’s time to put away childish ways and grow up! Most people that go to see Precious, the movie based on the book Push by Sapphire do not have the cultural sensitivity, self-esteem, emotional maturity, racial pride or distance from their own abuse to analyze it safely and with proper perspective. Further its story of abuse is so harrowing that it comes across as a viewing at the zoo. Ooh let’s go see the big fat blackety black girl get abused. Sexual violations are not a joke and the inherent self-hatred represented by the acts of violence in the book (not necessarily with the character) has yet to be examined.
Precious is yet another example of black women hatred being promoted as something normal and for “our” benefit.
The “story” is about a 16 year old African-American girl who’s pregnant with her second child, resulting from the NON-consensual forced incest by her daddy (rape) and her hateful monster of a mother who’s equally abusive. Notice a pattern here? No father in sight except when he’s wrecked havoc and taken off. The daughter is left defenseless at the hands of a woman who hates her very existence because of her own poor choices. So the cycle will continue. It’s supposed to be a story of triumph.
Kids that make it out of such depravity are left permanently scarred by it and don’t just get to walk away with a few conversations unscathed. It’s a lie to imply otherwise…but wait for it. Per director Lee Daniel’s treatment of one of the book’s underlying themes all the nice and NORMAL people are multi-racial/cultural and light-skinned. POW! If you’re white-skinned you’re alright! In the hands of another director they could just have easily been cast with white actors.
I’ve seen more outrage over this latest Sandra Bullock project as great white heroine than this film because most blacks (esp. those with just a hint of blackness OR too much for their comfort blackness) DO believe white skin is the best. Slavery has nothing to do with the way some people act TODAY. Systemic barriers exist but at what point does the collective move forward? It perpetuates into a cycle of excuses. Do you see Jewish people engaging in self-degrading activities on a regular basis using the Holocaust as an excuse? No! People who thrive make a decision at some point to get focused and move forward. Weak people continually look back and for someone to blame. Other really confused black folks are even suggesting that to criticize the film indicates your own self-hatred. Dumb and dumber.
Watching abuse and undiagnosed mental illness in black people is what passes for entertainment these days?
For the record, I have not read the book or watched the movie and I don’t have to do so to SEE the DEPRAVITY. Feel free to ignore the rest of this post at will. Just because you can relate to it doesn’t make it something that benefits you. There are plenty of documentaries that tell of REAL LIFE SURVIVORS that we can draw strength and encouragement from. Precious is voyeurism for those with questionable motives and judgment. Besides the condition and welfare of black women is worse than ever. The black “community” refuses to even acknowledge it so how does a mass viewing of one film change that? We already know the out-of-wedlock birth rate is nearing 80%, the never-married rate is nearing 80%, the HIV/AIDS rate is the #1 killer of black women 25-44 – shall I go on? Take care of the PROBLEMS first and stop dancing around the issue.
Mo’Nique plays the mother and she’s admitted in interviews that not only was she molested by her brother but she channeled that experience into this character. Is that acting or acting out what should be left at the therapist’s office? [As a side note I've tried, I've really tried to watch her late night talk show but I'm tired of her screaming at me from the television]. Is this is what you want to immerse yourself in after a long hard day at work – or pounding the pavement looking for work?
Some like to watch hard-core porn. Others like to see children being molested. It’s all in good humor according to them and “harmless” so it’s supposed to okay, right? I don’t think so. Heavy-hitting, thought-provoking and intense details make for good plot progression – but Precious is all about gross extremes and reinforcing stereotypes. Pinky and Gone With the Wind do it so much better.
The fact the director chose to cast a very dark-skinned neophyte actor (more eager, less questions) who is also very large makes for a grotesque display on the screen. In the book she is described as dark-skinned and heavy-set but he intentionally chose a blue-black skinned young woman who weighs 300 lbs. He’s already making fun of black women by choosing what he thinks knows blacks will find disgusting and undesirable about themselves (really what black men think about black women) to make his point. Let’s be blunt shall we? Do you know any AA black men who are considered “good” and “successful” with women who look like star Gabourey Sidibe? Plot device my eye! Men who’ve chosen to marry and treat them like a queen? If so I’ve got a health care plan to sell you.
Furthermore, the book is written by an author who refers to herself as Sapphire. A casual study of critical race feminism/black women history will reveal Sapphire is a code term for an immoral and sexually wanton black woman. It’s like reading a book by someone named “Trick/Ho/Bit*h”. Are you expecting enlightenment from that? It’s nothing personal against the author but this is pure trash. I can go find a dollar in the garbage bin but that doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my time dumpster diving. Wouldn’t we be better off reading about how to elevate ourselves spiritually, financially and in society? Once that time is spent you can NEVER get it back. I’ll say yet again we have enough stories of “struggle” and “hardship” that a black woman has to “overcome”. I’m tired of this being the only story being told about us unless we are portrayed as a ho. Oh wait – or as a castrating harpie! Or we’re being erased with casting white actresses/singers in roles/groups originally written with black women in mind. Not to mention having bi-racial actors, singers, etc. being touted as the predominant and accepted example of “blackness”.
The fact it’s being told through the viewpoint of a black male director is NOT a coincidence either. Lee Daniels is the the same director who gifted us with Monster’s Ball. I still can’t get that disgusting sex scene between Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton out of my head and it’s been YEARS! I recall it was being sold as a “love” story instead of one of desperation and compromise – on the black woman’s part of course! These men are NOT QUALIFIED TO TELL OUR STORIES BUT ALWAYS PRESUME TO DO SO. Plus the screenplay was written by a man as well. NEXT!
When will we learn we cannot measure depravity, either the acts of depravity or the mindset behind it that leads to those choices? There isn’t a “bad” version and a “really bad” version. It’s all BAD. I myself did not get that until this summer after dealing with the DBRs (damaged beyond repair) in our midst. We cannot conversate, negotiate or fumigate without protective gear and knowing we’re walking into a field full of land mines. Now if that’s what you call a day in the park so be it. It’s exhausting and dangerous. If people can make a profit at our expense they will. IF we let them.
It would be one thing if this was a true story and we saw the real-life Precious come out on the other side, living well and content. It’s a work of fiction though so again I have to ask: what’s the point? How does this improve the quality of my life or yours? Or is it just reinforcing our stories of abuse and victimization to keep us focused on being perpetually downtrodden? This ain’t The Color Purple, mmkay! Is the money going to charity? Nope. Is it going to help any real-life women who’ve gone through the experiences of Precious? Maybe. Then why spend YOUR money on this when you can guarantee it be put to better use telling a story that actually treats black women with respect and uplifts us?
Need I remind folks that other people do NOT go out of their way to show themselves in such a negative light and they do not publicly degrade their women? Sidibe has already been ridiculed by so-called liberals and white “feminists” (see Slate and no I’m not linking to them) who are ripping apart her appearance. Before you get mad at the white people though that’s exactly what’s being done to her in the movie. The true test will come after the award season and the wider release whether she gets to earn a living at acting and whether she gets to play a regular person and not a circus side show of mockery.
By the way, this has nothing to do with what whites think but how blacks allow themselves to be displayed and the lack of care in how our image and behavior is disseminated in public. You can’t parade a caravan of pimps, thugs, criminals, male comedians in drag as huge black women, throw in a few castrating black females when not ignoring them and video hos and complain about racism and how “the man” is holding you back.
We need to stop jumping at every project that has a brown face and giving these negativity nellies/black women bashers the benefit of the doubt. This is a business and they’re out to make money. We only prove them right when we lap it up so easily that we are not discerning consumers. That we are lacking in self-respect. That we are easily fooled and distracted by shiny objects. Their goal is to further tear down the image of black women so as to render us to the fringes of society. If we start looking at ourselves that way we will act accordingly.
Now, the film is getting Oscar buzz which is always a tell-tale sign it’s about some mess. Those Academy voters LOVE to see stories where blacks make fools of themselves or are deviants. Remember when “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp” won Best Song Oscar? Remember Denzel Washington didn’t win a Best Actor Oscar for any of his more noble roles except when he portrayed an rogue cop who brutalized people (and was conveniently taken down by the white male “hero” so all could be right with the world)? Who do they think they’re fooling?! It’s not as if there isn’t enough talent and technology for us to put forth our own projects that treat black women with the seriousness and respect we deserve. It can be a comedy but we shouldn’t the subject of the jokes without realizing it. That won’t happen if we don’t demand it. It is an act of love for us to say no to this foolishness. We can certainly tell a story of a young woman who works through obstacles without it having been something a KKK member could have written.
An UNINDOCTRINATED MIND is a terrible thing to not have.
Here’s the Katie Couric interview with Sapphire – it’s very telling.