Connect with us

Entertainment

‘Harriet’ Director Kasi Lemmons Overlooked Cynthia Erivo Criticism for the Sake of Art

mm

Published

on

Cynthia Erivo was hardly anyone’s first choice to assume the role of Black American icon Harriet Tubman. Yet, she was cast as the legend herself despite her reputation for disparaging remarks toward the Black American community. For the creation of “a piece of art”, Kasi Lemmons ignored the overwhelming criticisms facing Erivo. Now, the two are on a press tour struggling to save the film’s image.

Citing uncertainty of why Erivo’s backlash is so severe, Lemmons is naively claiming it’s because “she’s a woman.” Referencing other films like 12 Years A Slave and Selma, where British actors have held esteemed roles, Lemmons is overlooking the fact that the actors’ cast did not disrespect the Black American community while aspiring to portray one. Believing Cynthia Erivo was perfect for the part, Lemmons said despite understanding the criticism, she was more concerned with casting someone who would “inhabit the role.” Going so far as to say arguments against Erivo’s portrayal are “very unpleasant and ugly nationalistic” sentiments, Lemmons asserted the role belonged to her. Erivo has spoken out in her own defense several times. However, her attempts to clear the air have been called disingenuous.

Erivo recently stated in an interview with Variety that she knows she “hasn’t said anything that is derogatory toward any race.” She insists the screenshots against her are out of context to make her statements look demeaning. While acknowledging her comments were insensitive, Erivo understands people are still unsatisfied despite having “apologized, explained” and “displayed my intent.” The continued backlash led Lemmons to say despite her understanding of the importance of who gets to “bear the culture” Black Americans are “not seeing the forest for the damn trees.”

Lemmons felt Erivo’s casting was more appropriate because she is a brown-skinned Black woman with “recent ancestors that are West African”. Citing Tubman’s own lineage of being two generations removed from West Africa, Lemmons called the casting “beautiful.” However, she inadvertently used the very same ugly nationalistic sentiments she accuses Erivo’s detractors of wielding. Had a Black American been cast for the role, their ability to encapsulate the strength and resilience of Harriet Tubman would not be lost because of their diasporic experience.

With Harriet set to release November 1st, will you be watching in light of Erivo’s and Lemmons’ comments?

Comments

comments

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Entertainment

ABC Finally Releases ‘Black-ish’ Episode That Was Shelved 2 Years Ago

mm

Published

on

The recent uprisings have made clear that Black people aren’t just looking to name their issues, they want sustainable change. I reported on the reactions to Kamala Harris’ recent good-fortune. People are realizing that, even if you check off all of the “representation” boxes, you’ll still have to actively push back on the ways in which a person may have caused harm. The problem is that racists are going to take that opportunity to attack the most vulnerable of us. The same can be said of Black-ish, especially the recently released episode, “Please, Baby, Please.”

Kenya Barris is annoying. Everything he does finds a way to be annoying to me. He’s not a good writer. His shows are not written to be insightful, smart, not even bingeable. But how is that true if the ratings are always high? Well… White people.

Black-ish, and all of its Fool-ish spin offs, are written like after school specials. It’s a universe of poorly-scripted Blackness. It puts it’s characters in these ham-fisted situations, exaggerates their personalities, and then uses these personalities to make a “point”. Most of the Black people I talked to, some whose lives were word-for-word relayed on the screen, kind of liked the novelty of the show in the beginning, but lost interest after a while. That’s likely because they weren’t getting anything out of the show’s messages. These “points” were our lives and we already knew they existed. But White people didn’t. The same can be said of Kamala.

Kamala Harris is the kind of person that White people have never really seen. They think of us as unintelligent, under motivated, and incapable. I don’t really give a fuck, but the White people do. They are surprised, some excited and others appalled, to find that we’re somehow not all they thought we were. So Black-ish and Kamala is something new for them to explore. And watching this latest episode has made it clear that Kenya Barris understands this.

On the flip side, the Whites who are offended by our very existence put us in a moral dilemma. Either we let members of our community be publicly attacked or we step out and defend people and television shows that are harmful. That was the case with this episode. ABC pulled it from the line-up and we all jumped to its defense. In watching the episode, I feel conflicted about my old defensive tweets. Of course I couldn’t have known, but this episode does nothing for Black people. It even leaves room for people to be against Colin Kaepernick and it makes “White pride” seem like a legitimate conversation. Shouts to Yung Miami cus ion like det. The fact is, though, it wasn’t written for me. It was written for White people who actually do see these as quandaries. They need to be taught these things and need answers to these questions. And Kamala makes them feel good about themselves.

The point of the matter, here is that we’re going to be drowning in moments like this. These moments in pop culture and politics demand some critical thinking skills. But they aren’t really for us. They’re for White people. So keep marching, signing petitions, doing what needs to be done to have your voice heard, because it’s your voice that matters. Not the voices that the media and politicians allow to be heard.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Entertainment

CeeLo Green Is In Women’s Business

mm

Published

on

CeeLo Green has decided that Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion have gone too far. Their lewd and lascivious lyrics have gone too far. B-b-but, CeeLo, you have to understand that artists should be allowed to say certain things to get certain points across. You know, like making an entire song called “Fuck You”.

CeeLo was sat up looking a mess with Christina Aguilara for years. I doubt he ever stepped to her about being a 16 year old who was singing about “rubbing her the right way”. I didn’t see his dome glistening over Lil Wayne’s “Lollypop”. I’m sure he was fine with all the foul, downright evil, language Ice Cube used in “No Vaseline”. Jennifer Lopez has made an entire career off of shaking every last dime out of the little bit of bootie she has. At the end of the day, it seems like he only has anger for a single group of women and their sexuality.

I’d also like to remind you all that he and his angry eyebrows were charged some years back for drugging a woman.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Entertainment

‘Real Housewives of Potomac’ star Candiace Dillard Makes Fatphobic Comment Towards Blogger and Suggest That He “Drop Dead”

mm

Published

on

*deep negro spiritual sigh* There are very few things that truly anger me. Somehow, Candiace, a woman whose mouth seems to get her beat up often, has found one of those few buttons with her latest statement.

So, here I am, minding my fat ass business when I see this:

Rumor has it that she was talking about Kyle from The Black Socialites. It really doesn’t matter who she was talking about, but I guess we’ll never know because she didn’t have the courage to say a name. She did have the courage, however, to talk about her involvement with “plots” against other cast members. She was able to talk for two hours, under the glow of her pale husband’s flickering TV screen, about absolutely nothing of substance.

There are uprisings happening, a pandemic happening, but she’s worried about “plotting” in the DMV. We just passed the 6th anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. That’s in her backyard. That’s a pain that she should be deconstructing. Instead she chooses to attack a fat Black man who is working hard to bring her show press.

I’ll end with the victim’s words, and we can all go back to not knowing Candiace exists:

Comments

comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending