I HATE the phrase “stay woke” almost as much as I hate awards shows but….as everyone is celebrating all the pro-diversity-ness on display at the Golden Globes last night, I cannot help but call to your attention that Sterling K. Brown’s win is the FIRST in that group’s 75 year history. In its 75…year…history. The FIRST.
Oprah (no last name needed because, well, she’s Oprah)’s win was also a FIRST. In its 75…year…history. The FIRST.
I won’t get started on how the movie Get Out was dangled to generate pre-event publicity by its strange category placement and how it, Mr. Brown, Black-ish and the ever magnificently Denzelian Denzel Washington (as if the nomination and potential POTUS Winfrey’s award were part of the negotiations necessary to get him to come!) were the only nominees of color for the night. And, in not doing so, I won’t point out how that group of four is female-free, although Black-ish gets honorable mention points for having a number of female leads of color in its cast. As for Get Out, er um, not so much. (Potential POTUS Winfrey’s award doesn’t have nominees like the other categories so I’m not counting her in this number. Besides, anyone who can successfully co-opt a mainstream award show to launch a potential White House bid is truly in a category all by themselves, no?)
I will also resist the temptation to go into how, unsurprisingly, categories with “all male nominees” were called out as #MeToo and #TimesUp fever pervaded. Nor will I mention how, curiously, no one called out categories with “no nominees of color” much less those with “no women of color nominees.” Not saying they should as we’d be calling out most of the Golden Globe’s categories most of the time…just toss that one on top of the pile of observations I’m offering as some food for critical thought to briefly interrupt your red carpet dreams in hopes that women who look like me don’t get left behind in the latest wave of American feminism as we have so many times in the past.
For those who might be thinking, “But what about potential POTUS Winfrey who stole the night? She’s a woman of color so your theory holds no water, Beloved.” I’ll simply refer you to this female-free but classic teachable moment from 1990 Golden Globe Best Picture nominee Do The Right Thing to remind us all that, while she IS the embodiment of Black Woman (she’s NOBODY’s Girl, except maybe Stedman and Gayle’s) Magic personified, many in her base likely see her the same way Pino saw Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy and Prince.
Further, it STILL took the Golden Globes 66 years to recognize someone like potential POTUS Winfrey with the Cecil B. DeMille Award and she’s likely the most over-qualified honoree to ever win it. So don’t let the speeches, hash tags and chromosomes fool you. Black women may have arrived in Hollywood, but it’s only in one slow-moving limo at a time.
Said another way, I’m just pointing out (again and again) that perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to pop bottles and celebrate all the so-called progress that was made last night when there continues to be such under-representation of the groups who consume and create the products that Hollywood produces in these venues.
Since potential POTUS Winfrey said I should speak my truth, here goes…women’s issues matter. Black issues matter. But as someone who represents both target demos, let’s not fall asleep at the wheel. We still have a lot of work to do. Hopefully, in 75 years there will be no more FIRSTS.
In other words, stay woke people! Ugh, I can’t believe I just wrote that.
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