Because, let’s be honest, the Africa-American stars of “The Help” took a lot of crap from their own community for starring as maids. They did. There was a lot of controversy and ambivalence about the film, not only for the portrayal of domestics but also the idea that the white women essentially rescued the black women. And so they were in the precarious position of both defending their roles in the film to their own community while petitioning for more quality roles for black women with the wider community. It was a tight rope, that’s for sure. But one both Octavia Spencer and Viola handled with class and passion. In fact, if you haven’t already, watch their truly fascinating and illuminating conversation with Tavis Smiley from earlier this year. Go, I’ll still be here when you’re done.
And then when Viola said this, this really hit home:
“My whole thing is, do I always have to be noble? If I always have to be noble in order for the African American community to celebrate my work that is when I say that you are destroying me as an artist. As an artist, you’ve got to see the mess. That’s what we do. What we do as artists is we get a human being. And It’s like putting together a puzzle. The puzzle has to be multifaceted mixture of human emotions and not all of it is going to be pretty.”
This, this rings true for all minority groups. In the end, even as we continue the struggle to be truly equal and included and accepted, we are all just humans. And that, that is the ultimate struggle and goal – to reach a point where we aren’t just the noble black woman or the noble gay man or the noble Asian child, but just humans with all our flaws and all of our wonders. Like I was saying, mad, crazy, total respect.
Though, while we’re talking about her, holy crap is Viola hot. Back, front, arms – damn, girl. It is all working for her. Plus, come on, how awesome was it of her to rock her natural short ‘fro at the Oscars? So awesome. As I was saying, respect. Happy weekend, all.
UPDATE: Things you should know. 1) I am not a white woman. Though interesting some people should automatically assume that I am a white woman by default in the absence of standard visual cues. 2) I call anyone I think is articulate, articulate. Because I enjoy and admire articulate people – women, men, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, liberal, conservative, whathaveyou. 3) If you watch the entire interview with Tavis Smiley, which I linked to in this post, you will hear a very articulate, very smart conversation between three very articulate, very smart people talking about exactly the issues I bring up in this post. I suggest you do. It’s a lovely exercise for the mind.