Tqwana Explains…Double Standards

“I love this movie. As a lover of film, the film-making, this story of a man in this inhumane situation. I love this film. I think it’s important, because it deals with our history. It’s important that we understand our history, not for any kind of guilt, but that we understand who we were, so we can better understand who we are now — and most importantly who we’re gonna be. At the end of the day, we just hope this film remains a gentle reminder that we’re all equal. We all want dignity and opportunity for our family. That’s everything.”

–Producer Brad Pitt on Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave.

So, let me get this straight:

We have an Academy Award-winning movie directed (and co-produced – that means money) by a incredibly talented and visionary director, who happens to be black (Steve McQueen), based on a book written by a black man, with a cast of some of the most talented people in Hollywood, the majority of whom are black as well. And all you people can talk about is the 5 minutes that Brad Pitt is in the movie. And now this true account of Solomon Northrup’s unbreakable spirit, his will to survive in the most degrading and dehumanizing of situations to be free again, his whole damn ordeal has been diminished to a “white savior” movie?!

In what effing context!! Did you complaining-ass (insert derogatory term here) even read the damn book?!

Your point about Hollywood loving the white savior motif might be valid in other situations.

This. is. not. one. of. them.

How can you so badly miss the point of Solomon’s words? Of his struggle? Of what it took for him to relive what he went through and put it into the written word?

You can’t in one breath demand the need for our history – and you must demand the good and the bad – to be more mainstream and in the next breath condemn it when it is. And you don’t get more mainstream than Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Let’s be real here: the chances of Solomon gaining his freedom again with the help of a black man in the South in 1853 was next to impossible. Accept that. Changing that character to fit your misguided sense of righteousness would’ve meant that Gravity would’ve walked away with Best Picture last night. Or God forbid, the train wreck that is American Hustle. Then you would’ve been complaining that “we was robbed.” Grammatical error totally intentional.

Director and Producer Steve McQueen

And let me not start on the “I’m tired of us playing this, that, and the other thing to win awards” whining that happens every damn year. Octavia played a maid – the horror! My grandmother was one of those maids, and she was one of my heroes. Lupita played a slave in a movie based on a slave narrative. I’ll just let that one marinate. You were mad that Denzel played a corrupt cop, that Halle took off her clothes, that Monique played an abusive mother. I’m sure some of you were mad about Jamie’s take on Ray Charles or Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Effie, b/c you know “we can do more than just sing and dance.” Hell, you probably found some reason to be mad that Whoopi won for playing Oda Mae Brown. It was cool when Charlize Theron won for playing a serial killer, right? Or for Kate Winslet to get naked? Or Christian Bale for playing a drug-addicted ex-boxer? That’s totally okay, b/c they aren’t black. Maybe we should revoke their awards and give it to someone playing a Mary Sue/Gary Stu, too-good-to-be-true character. Please read that with the due sarcasm it deserves.

I just… I…*sigh*

Academy President Cheryl Boone Issacs

Yes, Hollywood still has a long way to go, but don’t diminish the strides that have been made. The Academy now has a black, female president, which will shepherd in even more changes. This year’s Oscars were a win for diversity. Openly gay host. First time a Mexican has won for Best Director. Jared Leto won for playing a transgender woman. John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay as well. Only the second time for a black person.

There are so many more important instances of inequality to complain about. Can we please just focus on the good that came out of the Dolby Theater this weekend? Can we acknowledge that this momentous win for 12 Year’s A Slave just might be that door of opportunity we’ve been waiting for?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s