Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Something New

When will all of this talk about the Oscars and the "magic of movie making" end? And yet in the midst of all the blabbering, for some reason, I still feel like no one has said squat of substance in the last 72 hours. Well except maybe for George Clooney and his comments about Hollywood in regards to Hattie McDaniels & also to AIDS in his acceptance speech. I found it a tad refreshing and smart. We all know Clooney had a way with us grrrls, but after that Hattie McDaniels comment, I'm sure Dr. Ross is going to be getting a lot more than just points and kudos from sisters. Ha, ha!

Well actually there's something I'd like to get off my chest about Something New-- the first feature to be directed, written, produced and starring African-American women. I saw it the weekend before last and thought the concept of interracial dating, even with regard to Black women, is not really something new, but actually something that's a bit played out. Sanaa Lathan was cute and typical in her role as Kenya, but she was at her best when being a funny goof-off like when she thinks there's a spider in her hair. I know I'm not the only one who’s had a similar outburst while enjoying nature.

Anyway I guess my two major points of contention about this flick is firstly, the idea that Black women with backgrounds similar to Kenya's (i.e. middle-upper class, who have gone to private or prep schools or in this case, who’ve attended an ivy league college) has not experienced either first hand or through the experiences of friends, interracial dating. C'mon, Black girls were dating white boys in my NYC high school and that was back in the late 80's. And having graduated from a small ivy, so many of my girls--like way more than half-- dated, and clutch your pearls, even married outside of their race… Nicola, Robin, Lesley, Bahia, Alanna, Kerita, and I could go on and on. Personally my first dip into cool whip happened after college. He turned me on to Rush, which is one of favorite groups to this day and I turned him onto Nas. It was a short, but memorable run. So I could see if Kenya was from the PJ's or went to Spelman or Howard then maybe the idea of dating a white guy may be terrifying, icky or foreign, but I just wasn't buying her trepidation at all!

Just looking at our Black girl celebrity landscape, its clear that the only person still thinking Black and White love is "new" is Kriss Turner–the film’s writer. Let's see we've got Halle, Eve, Aisha Tyler, Serena Williams, Tyra Banks, Thandie Newton, Naomi Campbell, Robin Givens and my favorite, Da Brat, either dating or married to white men. I don't see what the big deal is and why it constituted a movie or better yet, why the plot of the movie was about it being a big deal. Which brings me to part 2 of my beef.

Why does New, as did Guess Who, revolve around the premise that Black folks are the (only) ones freaked out by interracial dating when history has shown us, as has my own personal experiences, that white families usually are the ones (more) terrified by just the thought. In all of the instances that I've known including the one in which my father's brother married an Irish woman, Black families tend to welcome so-called "outsiders" into the family or at the very least, the dinner table. Whereas I've heard so many white families threaten their kin with disassociation (as that being the case with my aunt), being written out of wills and all kinds of disrespectful attempts to break-up the union. So needless to say, I was disappointed to see Alfre Woodard's character just acting-up and being so ill, while seeing Brian's (Simon Baker) mom at the end portrayed with such happiness and sheer joy for their marriage.

Okay, why did I just hear that Oprah's show today is about this very thing?!? What a frickin coinky-dink! Well I won't be able to see it so please leave comments on the site and let me know what went down. I'm so curious to hear what Oprah's spin is on the subject.

And while I'm talking about movies I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of legendary filmmaker Gordon Parks who I had the opportunity to see in November in a very intimate tribute. What a timely blessing!



Blogger Cocoa Girl said...

Yeah, ditto, ditto and ditto some more. I don't understand all of the hoopla about this idea.

However, Da Brat, was a shocker to me...I had no idea!!!

The Oprah show apparently wasn't nothing new, either, with white guys talking about the first time they kissed their black queens and black girls talking about how their friends wanted to know if the guy can 'hit' and if 'it's pink.'

Wah, wah, wah, wah.

Nice post, though:)

3/10/2006 1:47 PM

Blogger LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs said...


when i saw the previews for this flick...i was like....hello? why now? this ain't special at all.
I luckily did see the Oprah show that day and it was pretty funny. Questions pertaining to sex, whether it's pink or not, can a white boy dance, a black family gathering vs. a white one ...my jaws were dropping and honestly I felt a bad for Mr Aussie who was kinda looking mortified and amused by the questions. I kinda felt that a lot of these cultural differences also played out the stereotypical items as well which I felt mixed about. I don't know...to hear a white boy go bonkers in the details of his black girl kissing him....how she just kinda sucked him and he needed breath....hum...like he's talking about a sucubus...that bothered me.

But the not so revealing thing about Oprah's show was that American culture is grossly tied up in knots over the "race" subject whereas places like Australia are not. Now that could be debated...but personally, after years of the drama with my bros I'm less concerned with having pretty brown babies....they gonna brown one way or another....someone give me a holla.

in sum, the Oprah thing wasn't special...more comical than anything.

but yo...da brat!? now that's special...

3/11/2006 9:30 AM

Blogger LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs said...

oh yeah and one more thing...

a man who calls himself Crunchy Black winning an Ocsar?

now that's very very special.

3/11/2006 9:33 AM

Blogger Hot Grrrl said...

Latasha: By aussie do you mean the guy who starred in the movie. I heard he was very relaxed when talking about a Black woman he had dated, whereas Sanaa was very uptight and serious about her white boy experience at Yale. Maybe she has some issues... no, no I've met her on two occasions and girlfriend definitely has issues... Ha! But like you said race is still a conundrum in America. I wonder what folks thought about that Oprah show who do not live in the US...now that's when media and race really gets sticky icky!

3/11/2006 12:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to see the film...but as a Black woman about to marry a white man I can only imagine Hollywood has pulled out every cliche on the issue.

As far as families are concerned I do think it really depends where everyone is coming from. My fiancee's family is from California and very progressive. They embraced me from the very beginning. My family however was another story...my father is from North Cackalacky and grew up during Jim Crow. While he knows my fiancee is a good man, he wasn't excited about the prospect of having a white son-in-law. My mother is from Brooklyn and while she feels similar to my father she understands the value of a good man regardless of color.

3/13/2006 5:45 PM

Blogger LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs said...

i definitely meant the actor. he just seemed like "wow ya'll really get into the details of this huh?" I can't say much about how Sanaa.

she did appeared a little more stoic than her co-star. maybe she does issues...maybe she doesn't. I can't say that's a problem either to be tense about the topic either. For many many years, black women have had to be there for the brothers. The one main goal was to have a loving relationship with the brothers. And sometimes, everything just doesn't work out. So imagine, all these years of wanting that man over there and this man right here steps to you and take your little baby step...yeah it's gonna be an awkward moment.

I've only had two experiences with white men.

The first was very brief, very special. No sex involved..he just happened to be the only one who gave the attention at a time when i needed it without the bull.

The second I gotta has it memories too. The funniest had to be a movie date to go see what? What's Love Gotta to Do With?

Surreal indeed. can you imagine a white man there trying to remain calm in an audience of black folks who's responses can range from laughter to horror. And can you imagine me trying to be date with all that madness on the screen.

Well, we never did hook offically and probbably that a lot to do with me....i was uncomfortable, I didn't know how to respond....I could not get into the physical difference at all.

so i don't know. my thoughts.

3/16/2006 8:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Physical Difference??!? I cannot belive this is still an issue.

3/17/2006 1:48 PM

Blogger LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs said...

as i said, a physical difference THEN...we're talking 10 years ago. don't get slighted now.

3/18/2006 8:40 AM

Blogger Hot Grrrl said...

Anonymous #1 I like your points about family. I think, no I know alot has changed in the 30 or so years that my uncle married "outside of the race." I think your comments about how your mom feels is also interesting cause I've spoken to alot of older Black women who would prefer that their daughter marry a Black man, but so many are so understanding now of how hard that is and that our generation has really grown up in this multi-culti social context and that having a Black man is not necessarily the end all, be all for many of us, but being in a healthy, loving and nurturing relationship is!

3/18/2006 3:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i just find it surprising that - at this point in 2006- inter racial relationships still bug people out. Its understandable, to a degree, of older generations. those that perhaps grew up in the 60's & earlier. but its ......disappointing.... to me that younger generations still adhere to the protocol set by those before them. And i dont find the media sensationalizing anything other that black & white.

3/19/2006 11:34 PM

Blogger ladylib said...

I watched the Oprah show today and was so moved by it I had to get online to see what other people's reactions were on it. I actually saw this movie over 7 months ago and have not thought about it since. I think it is a consesus and everyone agrees that the movie was overdone and one blogger made a very good point. If Kenya had attended a university on the ivy level or closely there of there is no way she would have not been exposed to the interacial experience. But I am not going to critique the movie as much as Oprah's spin on it. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Winfrey but I knew within the first minute of her opening that she was (one again) going to fail to keep it real. I mean really, how can we expect she discuss the black woman-whit man dating experience to a room full of white middle to upper class women without sugar coating it? Oprah has not build her dynasty based on stupid acts and after seeing her show today I would not be surprised if her ratings went up a notch. I can write a short novel on all the fallacies of this show but it's late and I think we all know what was left out of yesterday's show. Why is it that the jist of the show was all about black women DESIRING to date white men? I mean has it ever crossed people's minds that perhaps white pursue us just as much if not more than we do them? It seems like everything on that show was glorifying white men, trying to make them more appealing than black men. Not once was there a comparison of black women to white men but there were times where it was going back and forth with black men and white men. If you can critize the shortcomings of black men then why not put white women under the light for inspection as to why their men prefer us over them. The more I think about it the more the rediculous the show was to me today. Everything was so sweet and perfect as far as interracial dating. Every other shot was showing a couple kissing and making out like horny teenagers at a drive-in movie. If Oprah is going to do a show like this she needs to come with it and not white wash this topic--making it seem like there is a growing number of black women who are dating outside of their race because black men cannot step up to the plate. I am glad Sanaa stated the statistics (5% women and %11 men dating interracial). Having grown up in Cali and lived in DC I have obeserved 2 very different worlds when it comes to interracial dynamics. I do not think time is ever going to absolve the issues of interracial dating. I am in my early 20s and know a lot of women who are "bugged" (to quote anonymous0 about it and it had nothing to do with the opinions older generations. What I think is interesting and don't know if has ever been explored is how some people who date interracially have no desire to date their own race. Some call it self-hate. I don't know what to call it I've met and have a few white and latino female friends who only date black men and are not attracted to thier own race. Now I think that is something Oprah should look into and might be able to fill a whole hour instead of a measly 30 minutes talking about.

9/01/2006 12:40 AM


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