All Articles Tagged "Precious"
Lee Daniels: I Saw So Many Black Women And Kids At AIDS Center I Thought I Was At The Welfare Office
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when one minority attempts to to marginalize another for the sake of their own personal cause and that is exactly what “The Butler” director Lee Daniels did in a recent interview with Larry King.
In discussing his experience growing up gay and coming into his sexuality, Daniels made a very sharp left in what could have been a productive discussion. Apparently in a previous interview he had remarked that gay people are third class citizens and when asked to expound on this idea by King, Daniels threw this dagger:
“I think they are prejudiced upon even from the African Americans too. I think that the reason we have AIDS…I did a movie called ‘Previous’ and when I was doing the research for ‘Precious,’ I walked into the gay mens health crisis center in New York City and I expected to see studying [of] AIDS and HIV, I expected to see a room full of gay men, but there are nothing but women that are there – black women with kids, I thought I had walked into the welfare office – but they service black women with AIDS, why?
“Because black men can’t come out. Why? Because you simply can’t do it. Your family says it, your church says it, your teachers say it, your parents say it, your friends say it, your work says it. And so you’re living on this DL thing and you’re infecting black women.”
And that has what to do with black women being on welfare?
Look, I won’t pretend to know the struggle of being a homosexual black male, or to be an expert on the bureaucracy AIDS research and treatment when it comes to the black community. However, if black women are getting services in a gay men’s clinic, that’s a systematic issue, not one that has to do with prejudice from the black community. Furthermore, a man’s inability to live his life freely as an openly homosexual male has no bearing, in my mind, on his inability to be sexually responsible. Being chastised for your sexual orientation is not an excuse to one, play with a woman’s heart and pretend to be heterosexual when you’re not, and two, sleep around indiscriminately, particularity when you’re aware that there may be these biases in sexual health care as it relates to gay men.
And again I find myself asking what the hell does any of this have to do with black women being on welfare?
I don’t think I’m too far off when I say there was just a slight, if not overt, element of bitterness to Daniels’ narrative which no doubt stems back to his childhood and being beat by his father for being gay. But that’s not black women’s fault, nor is it their fault they’ve found some place to be serviced for sexual health issues. There is equal responsibility to be had amongst black men and women women it comes to the rapid spread of AIDS and finger pointting and excusing just won’t cut it if we really want to stop this epidemic and neither will stereotyping. Being the double minority that he is, Daniels should know this more than anyone else.
Check out the video of his interview below. What do you think?
Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number In Hollywood: Older Actors Who’ve Portrayed Significantly Younger Characters
Since the beginning of film-making, directors have cast actors and actresses into roles based significantly on talent, often letting factors like age fall by the wayside. Age ain’t nothing but a number in Hollywood, and that’s evident when a 41-year-old Barber Streisand was cast to play a 17-year-old in Yentl, or a 34-year-old Stockard Channing was cast to play an 18-year-old girl in Grease. Let’s see what other actresses and actors are old enough to father or give birth to some of the characters they’ve played–or at least be a young aunt or uncle to them.
Donald Glover, who currently stars as 24-year-old college student Troy Barnes on Community, is just marginally older than his character by 5 years, making Glover 29 years old.
Tags:Actors taking younger roles, age, Amber Riley, Bianca Lawson, bring it on, clueless, Community, Donald Glover, Gabourey Sidibe, Gabrielle Union, Glee, halle berry, high school musical, Hollywood, Monique coleman, Precious, pretty little liars, remember the titans, save the last dance, Stacey Dash, their eyes were watching god, Wood Harris
Big screen adaptations of novels written by black authors are few and far between, which is precisely why we shouldn’t just support black movies, but black books as well – especially considering African-American achievements in literature are highly underrated. So definitely give these movies a watch, but do yourself one better and pick up the original books, because we already know that the movies are never ever as good as the original literary work
While some people watch movies and quietly root for the villain (no lie, I thought Bane in The Dark Knight Rises was bad a**!), many of us do the complete opposite–we watch these cocky, disrespectful, distasteful and often violent characters with disgust. Some are so good at being bad that we equate the actors with these characters for a long time, and some are eerily effective, to the point that you watch the character, act like you know them, and scoff at the fact that you dislike them so much. If you ever say, “UGH!” when you watch these movies, or shake your head at these characters a few times, then you’ll probably agree that they were villains you loved to hate.
Sanaa Lathan in The Family That Preys
If you watched just 30 minutes of The Family That Preys and viewed Lathan as Andrea, you were probably just as sick of her as we were. She was a conniving cheater, dogging out her hard-working and fine man (Rockmond Dunbar) for the town’s stuck-up socialite and trust-fund baby. And in the end, she revealed that *SPOILER* the son her husband thought was his blood was a product of her affair. She didn’t even look remorseful at all! Who else wanted to reach through the screen and shake her real good???
Academy Award-nominated actress Gaboury Sidibe is on top of her game and clearly living her life like it’s golden. Whether she’s telling behind-the-scenes stories from her latest film, Yelling to the Sky, or talking about her favorite date night spots, she is candid and never misses an opportunity to share a laugh.
On whether or not she prepped for her new movie Yelling to the Sky:
Not a lot. I’m from Bed-Stuy, and I grew up in Harlem so all of the things that happened in the film I’ve seen in real life. So I guess I’ve always been preparing to take on a role like that. That’s why it was so honest, and it was so familiar for me so I didn’t have to do a lot of research at all.
About that guy we saw her with last year:
Wait, what? (laughs) That was like a year and some change, it almost two years ago! That boy has been gone. Game over. That was my ex-boyfriend, and he is very, very “ex” now. I am currently not dating anyone, or maybe I am dating everyone. I love being a grown woman in my own apartment in New York City. You know hanging out with who I want to. I don’t have to call home to make sure some man knows where I am all the time. I am really enjoying that life right now.
Check out the hilarious Gabourey and the full interview over at ESSENCE
No Sassy Black Girl Or Token Friend Here: 10 Shows And Movies We Love That Showcase Strong Black Female Leads
Black women aren’t always given the opportunity to portray strong or positive female leading characters on-screen, particularly because Hollywood is dominated by men…white men. Somehow, however, the following women have struck gold in films and television shows that would have them act as outstanding characters, showcasing strength and character in multiple capacities, depicting black women who are struggling with death, romance, violence, revenge, scandal, betrayal or simply trying to survive–all in a gracious and entertaining way.
Kerry Washington stars in ABC’s Scandal as crisis manager, Olivia Pope. Pope’s character is loosely based on the real life crisis manager, Judy Smith. Washington portrays Pope as a headstrong, heavy-hearted woman who personally bears each burden that presents itself in her life. Pope leads a team of attorneys who are tasked with the goal of solving issues for politicians, celebrities and athletes. Scandal doesn’t elude Pope’s personal life, after all, she was carrying on an affair with the president of the United States–making the show all the more interesting.
Gabourey Sidibe Talks About Her Struggle To Be Confident When The Media And The Public Obsess Over Her Weight
If you needed another reason to be a fan of Gabourey Sidibe, the words she spoke at a recent Women’s Inspiration and Enterprise conference in NYC last week just might give you what you’re looking for. The actress, who receives a lot of rude remarks and inquiries about her weight, touched on people’s obsession with her size, and the struggle she dealt with to feel confident about who she was as a young woman. And she also touched on how even with the confidence she gained, she still gets her feelings hurt by how cruel Hollywood and the media can be. According to fanshare.com, Sidibe had this to say about how finally loving herself actually helped her take on the role of Precious:
“I didn’t really get to grow up hearing that I was beautiful a lot, or that I was worth anything nor did I grow up seeing myself on TV. Then at some point when I was 21 or 22 I just decided that life wasn’t worth living if I wasn’t happy with myself so I just took all the steps that I could to figure out how to love myself and become confident. Truthfully speaking if I hadn’t found this person before that movie [Precious] I wouldn’t have even be in that movie.”
But it doesn’t help when magazines and sites try to make a mockery of her and her size:
“People see me as a confident person but I get shaken a lot, especially being in this business. A few weeks ago I was on vacation and I went into a CVS [a pharmacy chain of shops in the US] and as I’m paying I see a picture of myself on the cover of a magazine and they’re guesstimating what my weight is? The headline was ‘Gabourey Sidibe 250 pounds.”
But even with scenarios like that occurring constantly, Gabby tries to keep her head up in the midst of the media’s bull***, saying, “I have to keep going and living my life, so when things like that upset me I have to find things that build my confidence back up.”
I respect Gabby’s honesty, and I know it has to be a constant struggle for her with more time spent focused on her body type than on her talents these days. And while you might not agree with her size or her confidence, it would be nice if folks let her live and lead her life the way she sees fit. Clearly she’s aware of her size, and she’s decided to embrace it.
What are your thoughts on Gabby’s comments?
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There was a time when, not too long ago, I used to criticize my friends for not patronizing documentaries and serious movies about this struggle or that struggle. I assumed the masses were stupid for going to spend their money on fantasy films or whichever Marvel comics-based film was being released that weekend at the movie theaters. After all, I believed they were turning their back on enrichment and education all for the sake of staying insulated in their ignorance.
That was in high school.
My, things have changed for me. When co-workers invited me to see “Bully,” the documentary about (you can guess) bullying in high schools, I quickly declined. I never went to see “Precious” or “For Colored Girls” or “Red Tails,” simply because I didn’t want to be challenged emotionally. I knew these movies would make me angry or get me upset. And honestly, I feel that I can no longer afford to compromise my emotional state…even for two hours. .
Now I get it.
I understand why folks escape reality with fantasy films and comedies. These days, I only check for romantic comedies that promises a light-hearted experience. Think Like A Man and Bridesmaids are my type of flicks.
My evolution is not as simple as me becoming less interested in understanding the struggles of others, but it also has a lot to do with my own sense of helplessness in the world. I remember watching “Born Into Brothels,” and being incensed by something so out of my control. After watching movies that had to to with the civil rights struggle, I would stew for weeks about the plight of Black America and worry myself sick about our inability to really come together as a people.
As I got older, I became more aware just how much these movies affected me. My decision to abstain from these more serious-natured films is selfish in a way but my decision to do so is about manipulating the happy times and decreasing the sense of gloom I channeled from some of these movies. Although I do watch documentaries and historical movies from time to time, they now make up only 20 percent of my entertainment consumption as opposed to 80 percent.
I like a good uplifting movie. With that admission, I’ve joined the camp I used to criticize and still wonder if I should feel guilty about creating a distance between myself and the ails of the world…
Does what you watch affect you personally?
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It’s hard to picture anyone but Gabourey Sidibe playing the acclaimed role of “Precious” in Lee Daniels’ film, but in her new book, I Got This: How I Changed My Ways and Lost What Weighed Me Down, Jennifer Hudson reveals that she was offered the lead role but turned it down.
J Hud says the opportunity came along right after her role in “Dreamgirls,” when she had first lost weight and she knew she’d have to gain it all back to play the part. She also didn’t want to be type-cast.
She writes, “I had done that with Effie, and as much as I was moved by this film, I wanted to try a role that had nothing whatsoever to do with my weight.”
That obviously won’t be an issue anymore with Jennifer’s new slim figure, but even at her previous size, it’s hard to imagine her as Precious.
Can you picture Jennifer Hudson in the role of Precious? Do you think turning down the part was a good career move?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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by Charing Ball
So over the weekend, I re-watched Lee Daniel’s Precious, with the expectation that perhaps I would feel differently about it than the first time I saw the movie.
The first time I saw the movie was at a local film festival in which Lee Daniels and a still unknown Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe were in attendance. I remember vividly the people around me laughing and making fun of the main character, especially at the part when Clarice Precious Jones steals a bucket of fried chicken from the soul food joint and the part of the film when crazy Mary curses out Precious with the line, “You better go down to the welfare.” That would instantly become the signature catch phrase from the movie.
The first time I saw it, I just felt that whatever redeeming, moralistic value the film had would be lost in the sheer sensationalism of Precious. Anyway, that was two years ago and there is no need in rehashing that debate again. Everyone has pretty much moved on – well almost.
Gabby Sidibe sure has. Despite the “concern” from those, who felt that Hollywood, with its fixations of petite starlets, wouldn’t make room for a woman that defies conventional standards of beauty, Sidibe has landed various roles in movies and television including Yelling To The Sky and The Big C. And most recently, she played a wisecracking, money-jacking Jamaican maid in the new Eddie Murphy comedy Tower Heist. Yet despite her ability to crave a way for her in tinsel town, folk just can’t seem to get over her roots. Like, how on Friday, I was driving in to work, listening to the radio and caught the end of a Gabby Sidibe interview on the radio, in which she was promoting the Tower Heist movie. After the interview, The DJ said, ”okay, I wanna thank Precious for calling in today…” Now that’s just messed up.
And unfortunately, it is not an isolated incident. Everyone calls that girl Precious like it’s her real name. In fact a typical conversation around Sidibe goes something like this: Me: “So have you heard about Gabby Sidibe’s new role?” Random Person: “Nuh-uh. Who is that?” Me: *eye rolls* “Precious.” Random Person: “Ooh yeah. Precious. Why didn’t you just say Precious?” Because that’s not her damn name everyone. I mean no one ever confuses Halle Berry for Catwoman or Angela Bassett for Tina Turner. So why can’t folks seem to separate Sidibe, the person, from the bleak character in which she played in the film?
Okay, I sort of get it and in some ways, the confusion is understandable: Just like the hero in Precious the film, Sidibe is an obese dark-skinned woman. And that is pretty much where the parallels end. In real life, Sidibe is the completely opposite. A woman, who comes from a loving home and has not, as far as we know, suffered any childhood trauma such as rape, abuse and incest as what was experienced by her character. Yet Sidibe finds herself in the awkward position of correcting people who have and continue to confuse the movie as some sort of documentary of her life.
Honestly I think that folks do this because she represents the two things that Americans, but more specifically Black folks, loathe the most: being fat and being dark-skinned. Whether we like to admit it or not, people subconsciously relate very negative traits and stereotypes to both of those clusters of people. Dark skinned people are ugly while fat people are lazy. Part of the reason is how society defines beauty and worth, which tends to hinge on being lighter and having thinner aesthetic.
And although we are a country of fatties and most folks in the Black community probably have skin-tones and facial features closer to Sidibe, we don’t feel very much sympathy to characters, who go against the grain of what is suppose to be normal. Therefore, it is much more easier to redefine Sidibe as Precious, the abused, downtrodden character worthy of our pity, or more accurately, our ridicule, than to see her as the bubbly and fun-loving, sexual, comfortable-in-her-skin, woman that she truly is. And yeah, that kind of sucks.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
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