Any photographer taking a portrait of a woman will look for her "good side" before publishing the picture. Giving an Oscar to Mo'nique sets off bells of disgust in me, as it gives another excuse for the world to think that that's the way Black women are. Well I prefer to show off the good side of Black women.
The good side is the mother who found her way to church on Sunday to expose herself and her children to the teachings of Jesus. I note: she uses a mix of love, and force if necessary, to get them to church and enforce biblical ways of acting, like Harriet Tubman did for those traveling on her Underground Railroad.
The good side is the mother who finds her way to night school to learn nursing, health care, a teaching, barbering or beauty career, to name a few, to make a better life for her family.
The good side is the mother, like mine, who created a business out of selling second hand clothing and furniture to create a store for her family to work and earn a living in. In the process she taught us the value of independence.
The good side is a mother is who, like my wife, did without and sacrificed while caring for our children, standing by while I went to law school, in faith that she would benefit later in her life. She taught our children that they must do what they have to do sooner, so they can do what they want to do later.
The good side is Madame C.J. Walker, America's first Black female millionaire, and Harriet Tubman who led the Underground Railroad to free Black folks from slavery. The good side is Mary McLeod Bethune creating a college to educate young Blacks fresh from slavery and Ida B Wells for starting a newspaper in Tennessee to protest lynching of Black folks.
The problem is not that Hollywood chooses to highlight the negative images of Black women such as in "Precious"; it is that these are the only images of Black women we see, including way too much of Beyonce wiggling her behind. There is a time and a place for everything, including wiggling your behind, but to paraphrase one writer, Walter Benton, in a 1943 book called, This Is My Beloved, he says, "Praised be the walls that hide you from eyes other than mine."
The image makers of Hollywood have done a good job of creating the image of the bad Negro for Black America. That is not our good side. The gangsters who sold drugs to Black communities are now Rappers selling the negative images with their music and sagging clothes, leaving their dignity behind. Now they are giving the Oscar to the Black man who can curse the best. Oh, I almost forgot, they already gave that one to Denzel for his role in "Training Day." It's significant that Snoop Dog was in that movie also. The message was clear that Black men are like the profane cop played by Denzel or the real life profane rapper like Snoop. Well we should all be writing Hollywood and saying NO, NO, NO!
We should also be writing to the NAACP Image Awards to tell them "NO" to honoring the negative rappers. We need to be doing more of what Tyler Perry does. Don't debate, create. Create our own movies and plays. Don't just protest what they do, put our dollars together and create a better image of who we are to show off our best side.