Monday, April 24, 2017

ARE HOLLYWOODS' PRO-BLACK MEN WREAKING HAVOC ON BLACK FEMALE IMAGES?

 Photo:  Nate Parker and wife, Bill Cosby and Camille, Spike Lee and wife,  John Ridley and wife


All of us are being bombarded by television and other advertising telling us who is beautiful. Women copy clothes fashion, hair styles and make-up. In addition, men are being told what their' trophy wife must look like in order for him to consider himself successful.

And since white men have control of most of the images, they are saying that white women are the sh*t over and over again every day. So a lot of black men want the white blond trophy wife too.

But it's only the section of black men with a lot of money and fame who can afford to go out and buy himself one.

Again, who beds who 

is rather a side issue 
as compared to the fact that 
the same brain unaware of 
having accepted that white/light 
as more attractive than dark
is also the brain we are allowing 
to produce 
what are SUPPOSEDLY pro-black-images 
for the black community



Let's take Spike Lee for example: 

A little while back I decided to figure out how much more Shonda Rhimes and Maya Akil have done for black women and images of black women in a single decade than Spike Lee has done in three decades.   
I went to a movie website and looked at all of his movies. I decided to look at the race and gender of the directors and the top 4 or 5 actors.  
I wound up a little surprised by what I found. 
Not only were most of the black women that Lee helped as pale as I expected, but a perfunctory review of of two dozen or so feature films showed me that a lot more white women benefited from Spike Lee productions than I would have thought. 
There were many of movies where there were no women at all until cast member #7 to #10 except for his sister. So, in the end, I'm not sure that more white women than light-skinned women have benefited from Spike Lee Joints. 
Never ever a shortage of dark-skinned black men though. Never.  
After that little bit of Spike Lee research, I came to look at Bill Cosby productions through a whole new lens. 


THE COSBY SHOW started out with the pale older girls being dating age, represented as sexually "attractive." Since the average sitcom lasts 3 to 5 seasons, there was no way for Cosby to anticipate that Vanessa and Rudy would ever get to dating age on the show.   
Knowing Cosby as we know Cosby now, that choice probably wasn't simply happenstance --especially when you look at the spin-off, A DIFFERENT WORLD 
Even after Lisa Bonet and Marissa Tomei left the series, it only had one non-mixed black chick student in it. That's kind of amazing, if you consider A DIFFERENT WORLD a "black show."   
What kind of subliminal message did Cosby wind up sending black girls, light and dark, both? 

And now here comes John Ridley.
I can't really blame Ridley for this GUERRILLA mess. 
I too have been in the position of only having read black history books written by black men. So, I'm going to give him a break and assume U.K. black history books are the same as U.S. black history books.
When black men write history books in the U.S. the only black woman you hear about consistently is Rosa Parks. And we usually hear about the least interesting part of her life. 
When I was growing up, all I was told was that she was too tired to get up. I didn't read about her work to defend black women from being raped by white men BEFORE that fateful bus ride. And I didn't read about her role with NAACP or her going to learn from Septima Clark how to resist. 
I didn't read much at all about other black women leaders like Daisy Bates, Diane Nash, and Ida B Wells until I read black history books written by black women. 
So I am no longer surprised when black men are shocked to hear that black women were also lynched in the days immediately following slavery. And, I am not shocked by John Ridley's semi-unconscious e-race-sure of black women either.  He's just continuing a black male tradition.
Too many black men think being pro-black means being pro-black men only. That's how you have a black production like GUERILLA go through dozens if not 100s of hands and not have anybody with the power to change things notice that black women are missing. 

SSDD. But we have to change it. 


In order to change it, we have to acknowledge what the problems are. And main problems that black male Hollywood and black male sports figures are having are:

sexism
internalized racism
 colorism

So tell an open-mouthed black man near you 
to stop worrying about 
the long straight weaves 
young black girls are getting 
in order to look more like 
the women that 
high profile black men everywhere 
are seen idolizing 
and to start worrying about 
ripping out their own problems 
by the root.

If black men want to open their mouths at people bringing down the race then let them start by talking to each other.

I'm fairly disappointed that black men don't drag other black men when they do things like John Ridley just did. When black men dismantle sexism, internalized racism, and colorism, other black men listen. The reason sexism, internalizd racism, and colorism aren't being dismantled is because black men, as a group, care about holding up rich black men as symbols of their success more than anything else. And there is low self-esteem in that.


What else but group low self-worth would make you feel like you have to defend Bill Cosby, Ray Rice, and Nate Parker?

Black women have their own problems, a lot of them having nothing to do with black men. But colorism isn't one of them and neither is non-feminist women's problems with internalized-sexism. 


In the meantime, thanks to the Obama years making black skin on the television a little more popular, black feminists and those raising black children and teens have some choices. 

more tomorrowBLACK AND BROWN FEMINIST TV