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!