DBW here with a question that always perplexes her WF (white friends–I’ll add that to the glossary). See, what happens is that it always happens that DBW goes into a movie theater or a restaurant or a Neil Diamond concert–a space where she knows BF ain’t gonna be present for and is surprised that some of us have braved the elements and joined in. As an involuntary reaction, she (I–I haven’t the foggiest idea why I’m talking about myself in the third person) will count the brown bodies. I call it the “how many chocolate chips are in the batter” test.
Does the visual image help you understand the metaphor now? It does doesn’t it.
The reason why? I have no idea. I think it’s a protective measure in case we all need to fight back if the revolution happens or some such thing while we’re watching Shame.
And don’t even get me started on that movie. I love me some Michael Fassbender.
But I don’t love movies that make me feel awkward simply for watching a man go through a shame spiral. And don’t even get me started on Carey Mulligan singing “New York, New York” for 25 solid minutes.
If that heifer sang that damn song any slower, I’d be collecting my Social Security by the time I left the theater. Hell to the no. Anytime as an audience member you feel the need to sing along to help the girl on the screen go faster? That’s a problem
Anyway, I have always argued that white people are the ones who like to count but sometimes, you know, we do too. But here’s an event where counting is something we all have something in common, just like Martin Luther King predicted*.
While my fair skinned brothers and sisters are counting how many categories they got right, we are counting how many of us there are total at the show. Because there have probably only been two handfuls of BF who have been nominated for Academy Awards (we’re not even gonna talk about the sad lack of Asians, Latinos and Middle Eastern folk who are consistently shut out), counting is a must for us when we talk about the Oscars. Conversation starters like, “I’m sick and tired of looking at all the white folks on the screen cause they don’t ever nominate black folks for Oscars,” are frequent and usually lead to a who’s who of past winners and nominees, e.g., “Remember when Angela Bassett was nominated for What’s Love Got to Do With It? She should have won.”
I sincerely believe that the reason why the majority of the Academy (who are white) won’t nominate more folks of color (or actually greenlight projects that feature people of color) is because they fear something like this:
I assure you, we know how to behave ourselves in mixed company. But seriously, is that clip not awesome or is it not awesome?! “Joy, sir. I do not know the meaning of the word. But Rev. Martin Luther King does.” How can you not love it? And the woman pulling out that little ass pink Barbie mirror while singing like she’s trying to be Stephanie Mills? How can you not love it. LOVE IT DAMMIT.
But until that great day comes when we can stop counting, this year we’ll be counting our usual suspects: Morgan Freeman, Samuel Jackson, Halle Berry (if she’s not off in France with her new man already), Forrest Whitaker (and his lovely wife Keisha. I love Keisha. I would be her friend.)
But we’ll also be counting some new BF invited to the ball:
Viola Davis is up for Best Actress in that movie The Help that I refuse to talk about because everyone else in the world has talked about it so much better than me and I refuse to watch the movie or read the book. I will say that I am happy that Viola finally has her moment in the sun and I hope she enjoys the hell out of it cause next year, it’s over with (BW actresses only get one Oscar or nomination per lifetime).
But Viola’s not all:
Now Octavia is up for Best Supporting Actress for The Help. I got no thoughts about that. Here’s what I do have thoughts/concerns/worries about:
See, this is when I knew I loved Octavia. It’s not just that her name is Octavia–although I love the hell out of that. I love old BW names like Pauletta, Georgette, Eunice, Ernestine, and Minnie.
No, no…I love Octavia cause her ass fell backwards and she laid out like she should. And then, she got up:
The first time I saw this picture I thought a press member said something crazy to Octavia and she was about to go beast mode on them save for Viola and the white man next to her holding her back. I wasn’t totally wrong. When you fall like that, you really want to beat the hell out of something.
Anyway, there’s two more photos I want to show that relate to The Help.
So I haven’t put much faith in the legitimacy of the NAACP Image Awards since Justin Timberlake was nominated for best supporting actor one year. I mean, really? NAACP nominates Justin “I totally threw Janet Jackson under the bus at the Superbowl” Timberlake? Foolywang. This is why I didn’t fall dead in shock at the racial makeup of The Help producers. But what mostly strikes me? The position of the BW. While nobody puts Baby in a corner; clearly (and unintentionally of course) it is acceptable to put a trifecta of BW there so the white dudes can thank all the BP for selecting their little piece of racist revisionist propaganda as best film.
One more photo:
I don’t know. This may be the first time George took a cover photo with a non-white woman who wasn’t J.Lo. But here’s my issue: I totally don’t know how to feel about this photo. It’s interesting to me that he’s not looking at her yet she dotes on him. Also, there is not one bit of sexiness in this picture which surprises me because George can generate sexiness with only a paperclip and a piece of Doublemint gum. What gives? Why not put her in that va va va voom dress and have Clooney’s bowtie undone? Why pretend that they are Fred and Ginger when what they could be is Frank and a hot ass Black chick after hours in Vegas?! Sighs.
But back to counting, here’s some good news: you can count with DBW and her soul twin Racquel as we liveblog the Oscars Sunday night. This year we are joining forces with the wonderful ladies of the Fembot Collective to bring some good old fashioned snark and black womanness to the Academy Awards. Join us and bring your favorite adult beverage as we count our way to freedom. It is Black History Month after all! Click here for the link.
See y’all there!
PS: And I see y’all have answered DBW’s request for questions. Downton Abbey is getting moved to the top of the list. Keep those questions coming!
*Folks are always misquoting King and what he said in that “I Have a Dream” speech. I figured I’d join the damn crowd and just be upfront about how I’m lying on him.