So…I came across this very interesting interview with Oscar-nominated actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer had a passionate discussion with Tavis Smiley. I think these women handled themselves wonderfully, when really they are just the “messengers”. There has been some Hattie McDaniel like criticism for African American’s only receiving Oscar attention when portraying stereotypical roles (which on some levels is true).
I was personally offended (and although she is a wonderful actress who I respect has broken barriers and overcome a lot in her career) that Halle Berry received her Oscar for a role that in my opinion didn’t promote the best image of an African American woman (and I was equally mortified that my Grandparents were subjected to watching graphic sex scenes and they even dubbed the movie mediocre).
Back in 1939 McDaniel said 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.” It isn’t comforting to see that in contrast here we are in 2012 and still debating over the existence of multidimensional non-stereotypical roles for African American women.
I think it really comes down to the ticket holder and what we as a society are ready to see and pay for.