If you watched Lifetime’s Clark Sister biopic: The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, then you know there were several memorable moments. But none more remarkable than the performance rendered by actress Aunjanue Ellis as Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.
But despite her show-stopping performance in the made-for-tv movie, when the names of the nominees for Best Actress in a Limited Series or Television Movie category were read, Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”) and Regina King (“Watchmen”) were on it. But Ellis was not.
And during a recent interview with ESSENCE, Ellis shared her thoughts on the snub.
“First of all before I say anything, let me send a huge congratulations to everybody who was nominated. Congratulations to them. I’m happy for them. I never want somebody else’s joy to be my unhappiness. That’s awful. I just want to be clear about that.”
Still, there are other feelings.
“I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that I didn’t want [to be nominated]. And the reason why I wanted it is because I wanted it for The Clark Sisters. I wanted to be able to give them the shine that they deserve.”
Ellis said, “Because we can sing and dance, we make it look easy. Black women make it look easy and the rest of the world takes it for granted. When it’s done by other folks, we talk about the genius of someone, we talk about their work, we canonize them, we say these are the best of their generation. But we don’t talk about our work in those terms.”
Ellis said the Clark Sisters are the embodiment of Black genius. Yet the mainstream recognition is not there.
“They don’t know who the Clark sisters are. They are Black famous. We know who they are better than anybody. We know they can sing better than anybody; we know their writing is better than anybody. They are as significant as their Bob Dylan, as their Bruce Springsteen.”
You can continue to watch Ellis’ work on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” on August 16.