Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can We Talk?: Why This “Awkward Black Girl" Doesn’t Want to See The Help- Toya

I can't.

Confession: I’ve had passes for The Help for over a week and I have no desire to go.

I mean not even a little bit.  I remember seeing the previews for it and going “Ugh. Do we have to? It’s 2011.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we should sweep the history of when black people were legally discriminated against (which was not that long ago at all) under the rug.  We better remember that. I'm not even saying that they shouldn't have made the movie. I'm just saying that as far as entertainment goes, until I see more contemporary representations of black women and our range of experiences, I will pass on movies like The Help.  And while we’re at it, I’d also like to pass on shows like Single Ladies, Basketball Why Are None of Them Wives, The Real Housewives of a Random City in the US and so on.

Please understand that I am not saying that Single Ladies and the others shows that I mentioned are of the same caliber as The Help. I don’t feel that way at all.  It just bothers me that right now we currently don’t have any successful television shows or recent movies outside of a Tyler Perry production that show black women in modern society living normal, non-ratchetty (yup, that’s a word today. Stop sweatin’ me spellcheck) lives.  This is why for me the success of the up and coming web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is crucial. 





If you are not familiar with The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl created by Issa Rae and you get what BGLU is all about, you need to get to it and watch every single episode.  I swear that if the name Awkward Black Girl would've been on the table for what to name this blog 8 years ago, that just may have made the cut.  It's the best thing since the cartoon Hey Monie.  Does anyone remember that show? I loved me some Hey Monie!



Fortunately ABG isn’t a cartoon but a very cleverly written adult show (and by 'adult' I mean the language would make the show R rated if it was on cable) that follows the main character J and her sometimes really close to home awkward misadventures from everything like office drama to romance.  It has been great to see this series get better and better with each episode and grow in popularity.  Its wild viral success enabled ABG to raise over $40,000 on Kickstarter to complete more episodes and will hopefully lead to it being picked up by a major cable network.  This is the thing: we need more shows like this.  There are so many facets of the black experience that are not being represented and it’s a huge problem.  As much as I love me some How I Met Your Mother I would absolutely love it if we could have a show like Living Single back. Maybe my frustration is why I’ve been watching so much PBS lately. Who knows? 

We need TV shows and movies that represent our diversity as a people and until that happens, I don’t want to see movies like The Help. And while we are on the subject of movies, I don't want to see any movies like The Blindside or Dangerous Minds where white people are coming to the rescue of some underprivileged black children either.  I want to see something that is a reflection of an experience that rarely gets told: my experience. My present experience.  I'm sure that The Help is a very well done movie and I know Viola Davis probably did an amazing job but I am just not feeling it.

What about you all? Have you seen The Help? If not are you planning on seeing it or have you decided not to see it?

11 comments:

AptLife said...

Not seeing it and WOW, you are in my head right now with this ENTIRE post. I love ABG so much (even their original songs LMBO) and I definitely donated to help support it. I even had a bit of a fit when I thought they weren't going to make their goal lol Since I'm always complaining they don't make quality black shows/movies like they used to (why'd you bring up Living Single :tear:), I was absolutely thrilled to see the kickstarter.

We need TV shows and movies that represent our diversity as a people and until that happens, I don’t want to see movies like The Help.

ALL of this! The Help is just...yeah. I'll bet $5 an Oscar nom will come out of it too. In regards to these reality shows, I saw the clip of the slap that happened on Basketball Wives and it was my 1st and last time ever seeing anything from that show. I was so disgusted, especially seeing Tami for Real World STILL acting a fool. Really?

Try Anything Once Terri said...

WORD on all counts. I have only seen the ABG episode on interracial dating, which was totally pushing it (LOVED it!!). I made my husband who is white watch it, and even he thought inappropriately hilarious. :)

Thedivinemst said...

I honestly think that you're making two different points and they are so far away from each other that it could get misconstrued. Just the mention of The Help and reality tv in the same wind loops them together.

I haven't been to see The Help yet, but only because I'm waiting on a girlfriend to finish the book so we can go together. If you don't want to see The Help, it tells me that you have not read the book and are extremely unfamiliar with it's themes. I'm a black woman from The South and I'm gladly going with my Irani, black and white girlfriends.

This story is actually less about race and more about Women's rights--the ability to stand up and live the life that you've always wanted for yourself and deserved without being limited by the status quo. It's about not cheapening yourself or selling out to please others.
The courage those characters exhibit make me want to stand up and cheer.

Sure, it's set in Jackson Mississippi at a time when the working black "ordinary" woman isn't on the big screen. I think southern literature gets a bad rap. If you consider that A Time to Kill came out at the same time as Booty Call, Sprung and How to Be a Player, I think it's wrong to feel that The Help sets "us" back a few years because the people are maids. It's a period piece.

deevinej23 said...

I love love love ABG! I discovered it about two months ago, and I've been hooked ever since. I want J and White J to get together. We'll see if Fred gets in the way. We already know he's envious that they get along, and he doesn't get a chance to make his moves because of "Thirsty *****" is in the way. lol! While I want to see much success and growth for the tube show, I feel tv will taint it in some way shape, form, or fashion. I would love to get an ABG t-shirt and wear with pride. lol!

As for The Help, I would only go see it if somebody asked me to go with them. I'm not really interested in it mostly for similar reasons, but I hope it does well. I'm definitely through with the whole white savior of the poor minorities stories.

Danielle said...

I've never heard of ABG until now so I'm definitely going to check it out later. As far as The Help, I'm not interested in the movie or the book. I agree that we shouldn't act like certain things didn't happen in our history but it's 2011! I want to watch movies, tv shows, and read books that I can relate too.

Leslie said...

I love ABG!

Danielle said...

So the problem is, when people DO make a movie about the black experience (and their name is not Tyler Perry) black people don't want to see it because it's not their exact experience. White people end up filling theaters for movies like Blindside, Amastad, The Help,etc. As the demand grows for movies about the black experience, movies that are more and more relevant will come out for us to enjoy!

I have read the book The Help and I really look forward to seeing the movie. The problem is, only my white friends will go with me and I want to see it with one of my sistas!

E. said...

Kathryn Stockett isn't getting any of my money. Forget what the book/film is about; I'm mad enough that she used the likeness of her brother's help without permission, denied it, and won't pay the woman.

I saw the film--for free of course--but I won't be reading the book. There's an entire side dialogue just about how she made the majority of the black characters sound illiterate. You iz smah-t, you iz kah-nd, you iz impo'tant. LOL. She called it "the African American language." Meanwhile, every white person in the book spoke "the King's English." gmafb

Lei said...

I am going to see it, with some friends who read the book. I read it as well. Everyone has their opinion. I know someone said that there is always a movie about a black maid. There may be movies with black maids in them, but can't remember the last time there was one about them. I agree with the post being about women in general. I like how the book brings to light prejudices doing with more than just color.

Lei said...

sorry to add. One thing I have to say about the book is that it is getting people to talk about a subject that they might have not done before. That in itself is good.

Anonymous said...

I'm with divinemst:

"This story is actually less about race and more about Women's rights--the ability to stand up and live the life that you've always wanted for yourself and deserved without being limited by the status quo. It's about not cheapening yourself or selling out to please others.
The courage those characters exhibit make me want to stand up and cheer."

It's about the HUMAN EXPERIENCE and how we ostracize each other out of fear and prejudice. It just takes that ONE PERSON to stand up and say, "No More."

Good grief! I have to deal with Ageism in the plastic city I live and work in...smh!