So it does seem here lately that people want to know what Black women think. I mean there is so much hype today over “The Help”. Look, I appreciated the movie. And Viola Davis was extraordinary as usual. But there were no surprIses there AT ALL. Did you think the Black maids would say they were kicking up their heels to be degraded everyday? I don’t think so.

On the contrary, “The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl” offers something very different. Developed by Issa Rae, it gives a voice to a Black woman who tends to be invisible altogether in the media, an awkward Black woman, just trying to make it through her awkward life. Now that is a big surprise.

It is a comedy and I actually found myself laughing out loud. That almost never happens with me watching any sort of sitcom. The writing is crisp and smart and you feel this woman’s pain. We are laughing at her and ourselves for those times that we have all felt at least a little awkward.

It is an internet program that almost halted production because they ran out of money. They were able to raise money through an online donation service to keep it going. They exceeded their goals in terms of the money they raised, because so many folks did not want to lose this great show.

In a way it is powerful because it represents the freedom to be awkward or to be anything other than a stereotype.

Run to your computer. Check it out and tell me what you think:


Viva Viola!

June 13, 2010

I am not prone to gushing over celebrities.  Ok, maybe a few times over Lenny Kravitz when I crossed paths with him. 

Anyway, is there anything Viola Davis cannot do? She pulled a Dame Judi Dench, getting a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination, just after a few minutes on screen in Doubt.  After I saw the movie, I understood completely how she could be nominated. Here she gave us a woman in deep conflict, making extremely difficult choices to ensure the survival of her son. 

Viola is a brilliant and often underrated actress, maybe because sometimes she is so good at morphing into characters that you don’t even recognize her.  She is presently on Broadway now in Fences with Denzel Washington, and up for a Tony Award tonight. Good Luck Viola!!!!

I was awed when I saw her interview on Charlie Rose the other night (To see interview,  go to

She was talking about how the “Strong Black Woman” stereotype needs to die.  I have felt the same way for a very long time.  She longs for the day when we can “just be”.  Boy, that would be a relief.  I would put a few other stereotypes to rest as well, including “The Angry Black Woman” and “The Mammy”, and “The Sapphire”.  I am sure there are others.

She talked about how often her personality confuses people because she is quirky. I can relate to this.  She said often people have difficulty reconciling “quirky” with Black women, as if those are mutually exclusive traits.  Ridiculous.  There is texture to the personalities of most people who I know, especially Black women.  But I find that we are often boxed in to a very limited number of personality traits when viewed from the outside.  Unfortunate.  She discussed how she rarely sees characters she can relate to.  Boy can I relate to this.

Well for those missing out on the rich textures of Black women, Ms. Davis makes it a goal to present women she portrays with complexity and texture.  I say to her, thank goodness for your awareness and that’s probably why you are so great.  Thanks for bringing complete people to the stage and screen!  People like me I know are quite grateful.