I am a consumer of biographies, I love to read and watch and listen to people's stories.
In high school I worked at the public library shelving books, and they knew better than to give me a cart of books for the Biography section, because I would literally read in the stacks and no books would get shelved. Best job I ever had, hands down. When I go to the library now, I still gravitate to Biographies.
One of the best stories I have ever read was the story of Madame CJ Walker. An OG badass Lady Boss.
Never heard of her, Who is she?
She is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female self-made millionaire in America.
Without her there is no Mary Kay. No LulaRoe. No Avon.
The unique thing about her is that she did this at a time when women in general didn't work outside the home, couldn't own property, weren't educated and being a millionaire was only for robber barons and far beyond the reach of most people in general.
Oh, and she is *checks notes* black.
Why am I telling you this?
Because one of my favorite follows on Twitter posted something recently that really got me fired up.
She's absolutely right. (Disclaimer: I am not familiar with this actress that is playing Anne Boleyn and in no way do I fault her for taking a part and getting paid, I'm sure she does a great job, her job -acting.)
There are so many stories of amazing and powerful black women that cry out to be told, like the story of Madame CJ Walker.
So why aren't they being told? The answer is two fold.
One, nobody really makes movies about women that kick ass in real life. Hollywood definitely does not make enough movies about black women who kick ass in real life. I want to see the story of Madame CJ written by Shonda Rimes, starring Octavia Spencer.
I want to see a movie about Ruth Temple, Dr. Ruth Temple (not the Jill Biden sort of doctor, but the kind that goes to medical school and stuff) starring Halle Berry (216 represent!) I want to watch a movie about Mary Lee Mills, played by Alfre Woodard (I love Alfre Woodard).
Two, these stories are out there, but they don't fit the narrative of oppression that the media feeds us on the daily. These stories do not perpetuate the myth that women are less, and black women less than that.
Instead of telling these stories they throw crumbs to black women, "yeah yeah yeah, we know about Barbara Jordan, Mildred Kelly and Marcelite Harris, but hear me out, what if we make Anne Boleyn black this time?"
This is Anne Boleyn.
Her story has been told, and re-told and re-told again. And she is a very white lady, very white. She is practically see-through white. She looks like the underside of a fish. She's so pasty, she glows in the dark... well, you get it.
Also, this is not a good story, she worked for the queen, the king decided he would like to bone her, she did not produce a male heir so he has her beheaded so he can bone someone else. Tale as old as time, am I right?
Like, I am sorry that happened to you Anne, but sisters are now doing it for themselves, and I think we should be promoting that energy.
Making historically inaccurate casting decisions isn't "progress", it's laziness, cloaked in "inclusiveness" and it deprives an opportunity to tell the story of historical figures that the public might not know much about.
And where are you on this Feminists? *crickets* Feminists are as usual too busy screaming for rights they think they do not currently have, in places where nobody cares, to people who only agree with them all the time. Look at every women's march. Pussy Hats, corduroy pants, electrical tape pasties.
They all look the same, and they are all talking to each other, and they all go home and pat each other on the back for moving the needle exactly zero micrometers.
This is what feminists are focused on now, note all the white ladies in there marching for on demand abortions, when in reality abortions are obtained by black women at a rate of 4 to 1 for at least the last three decades. But that is a discussion for another day.
The black women I have mentioned above are women who achieved, and conquered and paved the way for all women. They probably, nay definitely, did some activism. Then they went home and ACTED upon those ideas. They got educated, they created, they defied, they demanded, they worked. Regardless of their ethnicity, those women overcame odds you cannot fathom to do things you only dream about.
What are your obstacles now ladies? What have you overcome? I promise you it was not on the level of what Barbara Jordan faced as a black, gay, southern lawyer and politician. Her story has it ALL. I want to see Viola Davis win an Oscar for playing Barbara Jordan.
What about Cupcake Brown? Do you know her story? Cupcake Brown's memoir "A Piece of Cake," is not just one of the best books I have ever read, her story is proof that no matter what life throws at you, you can triumph, you have the power. Taraji Henson, please use your influence to get this one out there. I'm sure you did great as Miss Hannigan in the Annie reboot, but please bring Cupcake to the screen.
These are just a few of the incredible stories of powerful women, powerful black women that can inspire us all to greatness. I have said it before and I will keep repeating it, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to be serious.
If the black women in power in Hollywood (oh I promise you they have it, who is going to say no to Angela Basset, Halle Berry, Queen Latifah?) ask for more representation in film you have to ask that these stories be told. And you have to let these talented and incredible women tell them.
I said at the beginning I don't know who this actress is playing Anne Boleyn, but I can almost guarantee she would be better served bringing Mary McLeod Bethune to the silver screen than playing a white lady whose sole achievement was giving birth to a future queen and whose story is so embellished by poetic license at this point nobody knows or cares what is fact and fiction.
Ladies, you are better than this. Represent yourselves. You don't have to take what they are giving you. Those days are over. You have "fuck-you" money.
You have a platform.
You have influence.
You can make a quality of life career decision and tell these stories, I promise you, I'll buy a ticket. and so will millions of other women.
Until you do, this is what Hollywood is offering. And it sucks.