You Go Girl! Octavia Spenser won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Despite only 2% of Academy Award members are people of color and the “controversy” of playing a Black maid in a feature film, she won for us all. In the 1960’s many African American women cleaned homes for a living under the racist practices of the era. Our people stepped up despite sitting in the back of buses and banned from sharing a meal or toilet with their white employers fortified by faith and hope for advancement of the next generation. We should be able to look at our history with an unflinching eye.
The critics of the film should acknowledge how the film industry operates. Any controversy around the film is a factor positive or negative at the box office. The commenter’s should take responsibility for the outcome and objectives of their criticism. Octavia Spencer is a talented actress for hire. Now Octavia’s Oscar Best Supporting Actress win combined with the box office success of “The Help” makes her a bankable star. We should look forward to her next exciting career chapter. This month Ava DuVernay became the first African American woman to win a Sundance Award for directing, “Middle of Nowhere”. Director Dee Ree’s “Pariah”, the coming of age lesbian film just won the Independent Spirit Award’s John Cassavettes Award. As Black History Month comes to a close let’s celebrate the diversity of voices with Octavia and all the African American women in film. There is still much to be done. Let’s not loose sight. To quote Stokley Carmichael, “It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations. I walk in the footsteps of giants”.