May 31 2012

Michelle Rodriguez: “You Have to Be Trashy and Black to Get Nominated” for an Oscar

Director Lee Daniels (Precious) is receiving strong criticism for his latest film, “The Paperboy,” which was mostly panned at the Cannes Film Festival this year and called “outrageous,” “unintentionally funny” and “campy.”

However, at least one fan of the film thought its leading lady, Nicole Kidman, kicked some thespian a-double-s in her raw portrayal of a “white trash slut.”

Michelle Rodriguez told Vulture.com that she believes Kidman should be nominated for an Oscar for her work in The Paperboy, but likely won’t because she’s white. Speaking about a specific scene in the film where Kidman urinates on Zac Efron and orgasms, the “Lost” actress said:

“I f—g loved it. One of my friends said, ‘She’s going to get nominated for an Oscar for that.’ I was like, ‘Nah, man. She’s not black!’ I laugh, but it’s also very sad. It makes me want to cry. But I really believe. You have to be trashy and black to get nominated. You can’t just be trashy.”

You have to be trashy and black to get an Oscar nomination?

This is bothering me on so many levels. Not because a non-black actor doesn’t have the right to her view on how Oscar decisions are made or her opinions about how black actors get noticed by the Academy…

I’m bothered because despite the certainty with which she proclaimed her belief,” she’s wrong…

Off the top of my head I can think of several “white trash” roles that have garnered Academy nominations, among them, Charlize Theron for “Monster” (2003), Melissa Leo for “Frozen River” (2008), Jennifer Lawrence for “Winter’s Bone” (2010), and Rooney Mara for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011). With a little research I found Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Shue, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, Anjelica Huston… the list goes on and on of white Oscar nominees who’ve played whores, alcoholics, stalkers, abused girlfriends, etc.. And, that list doesn’t even include the best supporting nominees or the countless white men who’ve acted lowdown, dirty, and/or freaky on the big screen.

Given the reality that the Academy actually has no problem including white people in “trashy” roles on their list to receive what is widely recognized as the highest thespian award on earth, I’m wondering if what Michelle was alluding to is the widely-held perception that black actors are more likely to be honored for work in which they play a “trashy” character.

Also not correct.

I’ll admit that back in 2001 I was among those who hated the fact that Denzel and Halle both won Oscars playing characters who scraped the bottom of the morality barrel. But, as much as I have little confidence in the Academy’s ability to recognize the “best” onscreen performances (of any ethnicity), regarding this particular issue of “required trashiness” for black actors, it should be noted that historically, the ratio of black nominees in “trashy” roles to those playing heroes (or just regular folks) is actually quite low.

Prior to the year 2000, of the 16 Academy nominations for lead actor and actress, only Laurence Fishburne’s portrayal of abusive husband Ike Turner in the film “What’s Love Got To Do With It” could be categorized as “trashy.”

Here is a list of the best (black) actor/actress in a leading role nominations for the last ten years:

2011 Viola Davis The Help Maid
2009 Morgan Freeman Invictus President of South Africa
2009 Gabourey Sidibe Precious Abused Teen
2006 Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland Brutal Dictator *WON OSCAR*
2006 Will Smith The Pursuit of Happyness Self-Made Millionaire
2005 Terrence Howard Hustle & Flow Pimp / Rapper
2004 Don Cheadle Hotel Rwanda Hero
2004 Jamie Foxx Ray Music Legend *WON OSCAR*
2001 Halle Berry Monster’s Ball Executed Prisoner’s Widow *WON OSCAR*
2001 Will Smith Ali Boxing Legend
2001 Denzel Washington Training Day Corrupt Cop *WON OSCAR*

Here are the supporting actor/actress nominees:

2011 Octavia Spencer The Help Maid *WON OSCAR*
2009 Mo’Nique Precious Abusive Parent  *WON OSCAR*
2007 Ruby Dee American Gangster Gangster’s Mother
2006 Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls Singer *WON OSCAR*
2006 Eddie Murphy Dreamgirls Singer
2004 Jamie Foxx Collateral Hostage Cab Driver
2004 Morgan Freeman Million Dollar Baby Former Boxer  *WON OSCAR*
2004 Sophie Okonedo Hotel Rwanda Hero’s Wife
2003 Djimon Honsou In America Neighbor w/ AIDS
2002 Queen Latifah Chicago Corrupt Jail Matron

I’m DEFINITELY not suggesting that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has been generous, fair or impartial to black actors over the years, but numerically speaking, Oscar nominations for “anti-hero” roles do not outnumber morally neutral or heroic roles.

Michelle Rodriguez really needs to check her stereotypes and her facts before she stands on the backs of black actors to defend a white actress’s “right” to be nominated by the Academy for a “trashy” role.

On “The Island,” physics and facts may have been easily contorted and controlled, but this ain’t “Lost,” Michelle, and in the real world “really believing” something that has no basis in fact doesn’t make it true


May 4 2012

NY Post Writer Phil Mushnick is Happy to be Entertained by Ni – – ers, Until They Get Uppity

New York Post writer Phil Mushnick is apparently comfortable with talented “niggers” chasing a basketball around for his entertainment —and his kids can listen to their music— but when a wealthy black man has the gall to actually OWN a NBA team franchise and express an owner’s prerogative to make branding decisions, well that just sends Phil over the deep end.

With the Nets recent move from New Jersey to Brooklyn, fans and foes expected to see major changes in the franchise, including new team colors, which were previously red, white and blue. The team now wears black and white. Mushnick wrote,

“As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots — what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new “urban” home — why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N – – – – – s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B – – – hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!”

The Brooklyn Bitches or Hoes? Really, Phil? Mushnick is adamant that his rant was not in any way racist. He told Village Voice journalist James King,

“I don’t call black men niggas; my kids never heard the word until folks such as Jay-Z came along. I’d suggest you talk to him about it.”

This kind of feigned innocence is nothing new, but Phil’s brand of bold line-crossing seems to be more prevalent than ever in “post-racial” America where our President is referred to as a nigga, nigger, tar baby, and countless other disparaging terms that have undeniably racist intent.

I don’t know why Phil’s so offended by the choice of black and white for the Nets anyway. Why can’t black and white represent something positive like opposites uniting to create magic?

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony side by side on my piano key board, so Phil…

O_o

…why can’t we?


Jan 3 2012

Inventor Develops Procedure to Permanently Turn Brown Eyes Blue

“It had occurred to Pecola some time ago that if her eyes, those eyes that held the pictures, and knew the sights — if those eyes of hers were different, that is to say, beautiful, she herself would be different.”  –Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

An  inventor in California says he has developed a new 20-second laser procedure that will safely turn brown eyes blue…for around $5,000.

Gregg Homer, founder of Stroma Medical in Laguna Beach, Calif., says the color switch is possible because all brown-eyed people have blue-looking orbs under the layer of dark pigment that covers the iris.

Homer  has conducted preliminary testing of the irreversible procedure on a dozen volunteers in Mexico, and plans to test the full procedure in both eyes of volunteers in about a year.

Stroma will first market the treatment outside the U.S. — probably Mexico, Canada and Europe. Homer said he has “no doubt” he’ll get FDA approval in the U.S. in about three years.

“People like the depth of a light eye,” says Homer. “Eyes are the windows to the soul, and a light eye is like an open window.”

Oh, really?

Not so fast, Homer.

This story reminds me of one I posted back in August about a “Pupil of the Eye” conference Bahá’is held in Los Angeles to celebrate the spiritual contributions of people of African descent:

“Bahá’is believe in the oneness of the human family, but discourage the kind of “color blindness” that leads to the glossing over of critical issues those committed to racial unity must be willing to address.

The Baha’i writings metaphorically compare black believers to the “pupil of the eye surrounded by the white,” explaining, “In this black pupil is seen the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the spirit shineth forth.”

Young people today are already bombarded with media messages that tell them they are not perfect and beautiful exactly the way they were created. Breast implants. Butt injections. Skin lightening. Permanent eye color switch?

Have mercy. It seems Pecola Breedlove’s misguided survival strategy may soon become all the rage.