Tag Archives: black hollywood

Dr. Boyce: Why I Won’t Be Seeing “The Help”

The new film, “The Help,” starring  Emma StoneViola Davis and Octavia Spencer has gotten a bit of buzz recently.   The film is based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett about two black maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi during the late 1960s.  I was curious about the film, since my first impression is that it is a female version of “Driving Miss Daisy.”  I can’t say, however, that I am curious enough to want to watch it – for I’ve seen films like this one before.

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Things I Learned about Tyler Perry While Being Interviewed by Mo’Nique

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

I watched Tyler Perry last night on the Mo’Nique Show on BET.  It was an interesting interview, with Mo’Nique fawning over Tyler’s brilliance in the way you would expect an actress to kiss up to one of the most powerful filmmakers in the world.  I fully expect that Mo’Nique will get some coveted roles in future Tyler Perry films.

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Tyra Banks Going to Harvard Sets the Standard for Young Black Women

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Media superstar and modeling-model Tyra Banks recently announced that she’s headed to the Harvard Business School. While it’s still not clear if she’s getting an official degree (I assume its a short-term executive education course; I can’t imagine someone with her experience and schedule taking too much time off for school), one has to be impressed with her decision to continue educating herself. Some might think that education is simply a thing you tolerate long enough to make money to support yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth, since learning should be a lifelong process.

"I started last summer and I didn’t really talk about it. It was very incognito, my name and everything, but I decided to talk about it [now]. I think it’s a positive thing, especially for girls to see that you can still continue to educate yourself and you can still be fabulous and fierce and celebrate your femininity," Tyra said to MTV News.

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Idris Elba Says “Oscars are not designed for us”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I saw an interesting article recently in which Idris Elba, one of my favorite actors, went out of his way to give his true feelings about the Oscars.  You know the Oscars, those awards that black people never get unless they yank out a breast or act like they want to kill other black people. 

In an appearance at a university, Elba made this statement: “Halle Berry and I were the only two black actors nominated for this year’s Golden Globes (Idris for Lutherand Halle for Frankie & Alice). The Oscars aren’t designed for us…let’s focus on making more films.”

I couldn’t agree more with Idris on this issue, and I find myself consistently saddened by the fact that African American actors and actresses continuously seek their professional validation from a group of individuals who have clearly proven themselves incapable of evaluating African American talent.  Films like “Malcolm X” are ignored by the Oscars, while Denzel Washington received every accolade in the world for his performance in “Training Day.”  His work in “Training Day” was one of the few times Denzel played a role that was in contrast to the brand he’s built as a righteous, intelligent and respectable African American male.  It was after Denzel’s award that I personally decided that I would never turn on the Oscars ceremony again.  By giving Denzel that trophy, they insulted all of us.

African American actors and actresses should take a note from Elba’s page and simply focus on making good films.  More importantly, we must develop the business acumen to green light our own movies and find our own sources of financing.  The truth is that Hollywood was designed without us having a seat at the table, and you can’t move into someone else’s house expecting to shift around the furniture.  We might protest, yell and scream about not getting Oscars and Emmys and other useless awards, but the truth is that our need for validation from the descendants of our historical oppressors is a debilitating psychological handicap that comes right out of slavery.  I have yet to hear any white actor or actress complain about never receiving an NAACP Image Award, primarily because both black and white Hollywood have agreed that the white awards shows set the standards of excellence and credibility.

As long as we keep trying to play the game by someone else’s rules, we are always going to finish in second place.  It’s time for Black Hollywood to find its way to independence and set its own benchmarks of great performance.  Good job on your comments Idris, I am proud of you.

 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce Watkins commentary delvered to your email, please click here.

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