This is going to be a shockingly brief (for me) post. Some folks think Viola Davis wuz robbed of an Oscar for The Mammy Chronicles, but many of these non-critical thinkers actually dismiss the bigger picture in assuming she was just playing a maid. Besides, Octavia Spencer filled the Mammy persona/fat acceptance/othering of black women very nicely. You still don’t think all that “praise” of her presenting “real women” was for our collective benefit do you? When Melissa McCarthy was right there on the red carpet, too?
Meanwhile the political feminists/anti-feminine brigade stayed complaining about how “oppressed” the
white women were because they had to go to an exclusive event seen by millions where they got to wear fresh-off-the-runway gowns, were loaned million dollar jewelry, got insanely expensive free gifts and had access to some of the world’s wealthiest and connected people. Hardship galore!
All I heard from most of these women using social media to vent was how those women lacked prestige and position. Not enough women directors or acting roles – this despite the fact women studio heads are making these decisions as well. Meanwhile they never disclose their own privilege, or the fact their oppressed sisters are eerily coming from very similar backgrounds, how insular their hierarchy is and how they’ve been bestowed platforms from which to speak in the first place. When they’re not appropriating and choosing a very narrow definition of oppression.
I get the larger argument, but the players are often guilty of a similar coercion. No, Angelina Jolie does not need an assist. Her directorial debut bombed, but she’s still the highest paid actress in Hollywood. She rolled up right before the start of the Oscars, with Brad in tow and literally struck a pose. It was all the buzz. Her stock remains solid.
Meryl Streep had Harvey Weinstein, her Academy peers and community at large backing her third Oscar win. It’s called an infrastructure. Black actresses (and black women at large) have mass denigration and active abandonment by other blacks. Some of the same indoctrinated, self-hating and gender misogynists who also think encouraging black women to support a person, project or community that gives nothing in return is normal – and mandatory.
We all know if Viola doesn’t have non-stereotypical lead roles already lined up, her stock is already sinking. Not looking like Halle Berry doesn’t have anything to do with it. If Davis is waiting for the right project to come along, she’ll be waiting for a while. The key is in creating projects and finding appropriate partnerships.
We need more non-color racist, non-defeatest creators to generate and follow through on projects. Many are being called, but only a few will answer. Everyone can still offer support though, via Crowdfunding projects and finding a creative collective.
Then there’s the just-announced YouTube Your Film Festival. Opportunities ARE PLENTIFUL when you’re looking in the right direction. Obstacles can be managed. Nobody said it was going to be easy! Get your mind right, don’t give up and get busy!