I had no idea that she likes Taraji P. Henson just as much as I. The commercial for the new series “Empire” came on and we both said “I want to watch that” almost at the same time. I looked over at her and was very surprised that she felt the same way. Sometimes we don’t share the same view for some actors, shows, and movies. I exclaimed “I love me some Taraji P. Henson!”
We began to talk about who we thought Taraji to be as a person. Roxie said joyfully “I think that Taraji and I could be friends” I said “Yeah, I could see that.” We both agreed that Taraji seems to be down to earth
Several days prior I was finishing up my vision board for 2015 and was going through a box of magazines that Roxie had brought me from her mother’s house. I came across an October 2014 article about Taraji in Ebony Magazine. I learned quite a bit about her. Usually when I say that I love someone it’s not because I know them personally but because I love their work, gift, or craft.
Ebony’s Editor-in-Chief Mitzi Miller asked Taraji “What’s one thing that your status hasn’t been able to help with?” Taraji’s response was surprising but not. I shared with my partner that Taraji had stated that she is “still fighting for basic shit career wise.” That she has every accolade that is required of an A-List actor but she is still treated like she is on the D-List.
We began to talk about the list of movies and shows Taraji had been in and how we both loved her in “Baby Boy”. Roxie stated that Taraji had not been in any A-List movies and that she needed a role that would catapult her to the A-list. I said and how will she do that? Look at all the so-called A-List movies, in them were all casted by white actresses. Think of any black actress that you could see playing the lead role in any A-List movie that you’ve seen. Roxie paused a moment to think of one. She spouted out “Halle Berry” I said “in Hollywood Halle is not black. Name any black actress outside of Halle who’s played a bond girl.” She said “you’re right.” We began to talk about Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. These are both great actresses but still haven’t really quite gotten their just due. Yes, sure Viola has HTGAWM but she has been deserving of so much more for a long time.
I began to get upset, not that I had just realized it but now it’s time to really talk about it. Black actors and actress will only reach a certain level in “Hollywood” we need these young black filmmakers and writers to come together to create not a “Black” Hollywood but opportunities for black actors and actress to have the same level of success. We need to come together to make good quality movies about every aspect of the black life and we need to be supportive of each other whether that is our story, or not. We have to realize that the black life is exponentially diverse and not one dimensional.
Some of us get upset at Tyler Perry or other filmmakers for making films that we think may do damage to the community as a whole but we must realize that ‘All” black stories are worthy to be told. The black experience being vast deserves to be explored in every way possible. If we try to control the stories that we think really matters then we aren’t open to change, and leave ourselves limited in our thinking. This is why we think that being black means one thing only and we try to place every black person in the same black box and when they do not fit we say that they aren’t black enough or whatever else we say to try to control them into being the kind of black that we are.
Just at that point I got upset even more because I began to think of ways that we contribute to what the standards in Hollywood say when we don’t go to the movies to support these people. “We have some talented actors but they will never reach the level of their potential if we don’t support them. If we don’t stop with the boot-legged CD’s and actually go out to a movie to watch these actors they won’t get the numbers they really need to be number one or A-List.”
There are quite a few reasons why the black actor has to work twice as hard and sometimes still do not come out on top. The least we can do as black people is see their work and support them.
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