Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Black Moms in Hollywood: Can You Name One Positive Portrayal?
Be clear: I really do adore Mo’Nique—her humor, her hustle, her demand that we love ourselves exactly the way we are, no matter who stands at the ready to tear us down. And I especially loved her in Precious. Despite that I wrote HERE about my hesitancy to see the movie, I did end up seeing Precious and thought Mo'Nique was scary brilliant as an abusive, mentally-ill, poverty-stricken mom. Transformative. And she deserved that Oscar.
I feel the same way about Sandra Bullock, whom I absolutely adore for being down-to-earth and uber cute. I didn’t see The Blind Side (partly because I’ve grown quite tired of the “white savior” movies that keep creeping onto the movie screen), but I was happy for Bullock’s win nonetheless, if only because I’m a fan of her past work.
But, well, you know there’s a “but” coming. How many more times will Hollywood expect me to plunk down $10 per ticket (plus doggone near another $20 for a bag of popcorn and one of those slushie Coca Cola drinks) to see movies that portray black moms as pathological, drug-addicted, abusive, broke-down, dumb ass, you-ain’t-sh#t-and-ain’t-evah-gone-be-sh#t, baby mamas?
• Monster’s Ball featured a poverty-stricken, verbally-abusive mom who was so dumb that she didn’t realize the son of a raving racist, who was doing things to make her “feel good,” actually killed her child’s father.
• The Blind Side was about a white southern mom who takes in a black teenage football player who’s never even had his own bed because, well, his mother is a poverty-stricken crack head who can’t keep hold of her kids.
• Precious: Where do I even begin to describe the depraved, inhuman, patently foul infection that was Mary in this movie?
• Daddy’s Little Girls features an abusive, foul-mouthed mother who gives up her daughters to take up residence as the queenpin in her boyfriend’s drug organization, and then lets her new man beat up on her youngest daughter and make a drug dealer out of her oldest child.
See the running theme here? I mean I really had to stop and think hard to come up with a movie featuring a black mom who loves her children AND is raising them up right AND isn’t sucking on the pipe/collecting a welfare check/cussing out the babies/depending on others to step in and save her children, and I was hard-pressed to name one. Like, I seriously couldn’t come up with one.
Help me out, MyBrownBaby family: Am I wrong to be annoyed by the portrayal of black moms in mainstream Hollywood? Should I expect more, or is this it for us? I mean, I respect Precious supporters' arguments that we have to examine the good, the bad, and the ugly that happens in our community, but er, um, where is the good? I mean, can you name ONE movie with a black mom with some sense? (No, Denzel Washington/Will Smith/Morgan Freeman/Laurence Fishburne arm candy does NOT count as a positive portrayal of black moms; I want to know which films actually give an indepth, solid delving into the life of a black woman that does NOT portray her as a foul, drug-addled, somebody-please-save-the-babies-from-that-crazy-ass-monster mom).
Two snaps up and a twist to anyone who can name one…