I have really appreciated the many hits on my review of The Help, and the new readers who have found my blog. I thank y’all so much for the love.
And so, for those of y’all who don’t regularly read this blog, I’d thought I’d introduce you to the real me. And if you still like the real me, come on back and read again. And if you don’t, well, I’m not going to change, and it’s been a long time since I thought about doing so. I’m not going to lie to you.
Anyway, I want to complicate this issue of public representations of Black women and ask some very difficult questions that occurred to me this morning.
Do the images of the Black Mammy and the historical inaccuracies of the Civil Rights era–the past–depicted in The Help movie do any more damage to the public image or private self-esteem of Black women than, say, the following (below) rappers calling Black women (at least one of) the following (below) various demeaning, cruel epithets in public–on their Cds–in the present?
Demeaning And/Or Cruel Epithets
Hip Hop Artists Who’ve Used At Least One Of The Above Epithets Frequently
Why will we Black people rally the academic and artistic troops and write all kinds of reviews and responses to The Help, when Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West came out two days before that movie, and I counted at least 20 uses of the word “b**ch” on that Cd, and in one song, Kanye raps about throwing his personal body fluids on a woman’s face? How come that doesn’t work Black academics and artists into a blog-writing fury?
If Jay-Z’s and Kanye’s hearts are still considered to be in the “right place” when they demean (presumably Black) women, why can’t we assume that the heart of White southerner Kathryn Stockett (the author of The Help) is in the same “right place” when she produces a demeaning representation of Sisters?
I’ve heard the following excuse for Black male/female Hip Hop artists calling Sisters out of their name: “Well, if you know you’re not a [fill-in-the-blank demeaning epithet], it shouldn’t bother you.” Taking the same simple line of logic: If you’re an African American woman and you know you’re not a Black Mammy—or if you love an African America woman and you know she’s not a Mammy–then why should The Help bother you so much?
Sidebar: You do know I was put on this planet to cause trouble, right? I can’t help it. My great-granny was a root worker.
By the way, my regular readers know that I am not someone who uses profanity in my blog, and I do not like to publish comments that contain profanity, either. (Yes, I am a Southern Lady.) I didn’t want to water down the impact of the epithets by using asterisks, but I did, since 99% of us who are grown will know the word.
Ok, that’s all for now.
I’m hoping to have something you can feel–to quote from Sparkle for all you old heads–on Monday. Until then, have a wonderful weekend and whether or not you come back to the blog, I hope I’ve done something good for you, even if only for a little while.