Summary: Octavia Spencer wins a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in "The Help", Idris Elba wins Best Actor in a Mini-Series for "Luther" and Morgan Freeman's honored. Hollywood loves to honor Black people in three's. lol
Unfortunately I can't say I am proud of Octavia Spencer's win aside from it adding to her list of accomplishments as an actress. I believe the ENERGY of her win is like a modern-day Hattie McDaniel.
Octavia Spencer wins the Golden Globe for best supporting actress in the movie "The Help". Despite her extensive career in acting, this is the first award she has won on any scale. The only way to lighten that fact would be to acknowledge that her role in "The Help" was her first extensive role to date.
My criticisms have nothing to do with Octavia Spencer as a person. I'm sure she is a wonderful person with a kind heart and soul. Despite this I can only wonder how it feels to find acknowledgement from Hollywood only after playing a "Mammy" whose life's made better by White people.
I try so hard not to be sensitive about these things. Unlike many other Black people I refuse to look at everything as a racial implication, but the ENERGY of this achievement can't help but be felt. Not only did she win the Golden Globe for best supporting actress, she has won awards for her role in the "The Help" through smaller scale award associations too.
Again this article is about ENERGY and as I pointed out Octavia Spencer's win has the ENERGY of Hattie McDaniel.
Listen to Hattie McDaniel display a her sense of uneasiness in being honored as a "Mammy" maid in "Gone with the Wind".
Hattie McDaniel does not seem happy, but she felt successful considering her era.
I'd rather play a maid than be one.Poor Hattie, she didn't feel completely comfortable with the box Hollywood put her in, but she had the mentality that she was going to eat all the crumbs she could to make it. Hattie McDaniel died at the young age of 60 and while I don't hate or despise this woman for playing a maid throughout her career, I think her legacy should be used to show what happens when you have no power.
Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of their awards for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel, and may I say thank you and God bless you. [Her acceptance speech upon winning the Oscar for "Gone With the Wind"]
Octavia Spencer gave a speech that tries to vindicate the ENERGY her role by using Dr. King's birthday as a justification for her playing a heavy-set, dark skin, maid.
"With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: 'All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.' And I thank you for recognizing that with our film," Spencer, 41, said in accepting the award for best supporting actress for her acclaimed performance as a maid in The Help.Unfortunately she does not realize that these types of roles are simply vindicating to herself by giving her potential star power in Hollywood, and to White people, not this race. I would much rather see a portrayal of Harriet Tubman, or Sojourner Truth; women who were self-empowered. Women who did not need saving from White people in order to help themselves.
However, when you have no power, and don't have your own, you are at the mercy of others. I continue to long for Black people to develop economic power so that we could truly have a Hollywood and motion picture empire that depicts more balance portrayals of Black people. One where we can honor people who rise above stereotype and give outstanding performances that are a-typical to the light we're seen in.
Until then, we cannot attack we can only continue to absorb the ENERGY of what happens when others call the shots and see no harm in their actions. Hopefully one day it will spark initiative in the race to the point where we not only cease support to movies that feed stereotype and allow others to feel like saviors, but support our own movies and the progression of them so that we can show future children we can be honored outside of stereotype.
Still I say, Congratulations Octavia Spencer, I will never see the movie, I only need to see clips, but she is being allotted her time to shine, and that is more that this race can offer her.. Plus hats off to Idris Elba and Morgan Freeman who long deserved to be honored.
Stay Tuned, I will be discussing this more on my Thursday night Podcast January 18th 2012