“I Love You For What You’ve Done For Black Women” Leslie Jones Expresses Her Love For Whoopi Goldberg
We speak all the time about the importance of representation. The importance of people, particularly children and people of color, seeing others like them in the arts, in political office, in the STEM field, in media…in anything really. The confidence that you can be or become something when there’s someone who looks like you already doing it, has a powerful affect on the psyche.
We see examples of it everyday. But on a recent episode of “The View,” there was a pretty high profile one when Leslie Jones thanked Whoopi Goldberg for her influence.
Jones was absolutely giddy as she talked about the impact Whoopi had on her life.
“I’m going to do this without trying to get emotional. When I was young, my dad always listen to comedy albums and I always knew about comedy. I always loved comedy. The day that I saw Whoopi Goldberg on television I cried so hard because I kept looking at my daddy ‘Oh my God, there’s somebody on tv that looks like me. She looks like me. I can be on tv. I can be on tv. I can do it. Look at her, look at her. She looks just like me.’ My dad recored it for me and I literally watched it everyday after school.”
Then she briefly shared a story of her using one of Whoopi’s schticks in her communication class in college. Then she got more serious.
“I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart because now I know what I’m doing that when I put on that Ghostbusters suit, and little girls see me on tv now, now they’re going to go ‘I can do it.’ And you gave that… you gave that to me. And I love you. I love you from my heart and my soul and I love you for what you’ve done for Black women. I love you for what you’ve done for Black comediennes and I love you.”
I’ve seen this video about four or five times now and I still shed tears when I watch it. Mostly because I know the power of seeing Black women do what you want to do. I know the power of watching someone do something and knowing, on a spiritual, almost supernatural level, that that’s what you want to do as well. And I can understand why she had to thank Whoopi so sincerely. While we may feel we’re living our lives, chasing our dreams and achieving our goals for ourselves, none of us exist in a vacuum. Having the courage and the strength to pursue our goals gives others the power, inspiration and, in some cases, the permission to do the same.