This years Oscars was another one of those, "lets see if the colored folk wins." By the way, CONGRATULATIONS to Monique on her win. I felt so compelled to make this post for various reasons. Today at work, one of my white co-workers didn't understand why I was texting and sneaking calls to find out whether or not Monique or Gabourey won in their categories. This week I've REALLY come to realize why it is so important to people of color when one of us wins such a prestigious award as an Oscar.
Last week in my English Literature class, my classmates kept going back and forth about how my black professor kept making faces that were opposite of how she was actually feeling and that she should be more obvious about how she actually felt. Finally, one of them said "your facial expressions are hard to read." Now, that was one of the moments being the only black student in a class where I knew something was wrong, but didn't say anything. The moment I walked out of class, I went to one of my mentors and told him what happened. I don't know if I wasn't explaining to him what had happened correctly, but his reaction wasn't what I thought it would have been.
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During slavery and even after, one of the reasons black people were seen as animals and not human, was because we were unable to blush. Actually, I take that back. We WERE and ARE able to blush, but of course, because of our skin tones, it is harder to see a rosy cheek on us. Also, do you know what blackface and minstrel shows are? It first started off when whites would paint their faces black, and mimic what they thought they saw black people as. Of course they were all stereotypical views, however it became something blacks started participating in. The shows lasted for over 100 years and stuck because it was what audiences would pay to see. I mean, who would pay to see a black person play a compelling role that isn't stereotypical right? Black folks were merely giving audiences what they paid for...and what was that? To laugh at us.
Monique and the few other people of color who have won an Oscar should be applauded to the 10th degree and beyond. Not only did they win their well deserved Oscars, but they won it playing roles that many people would not have paid to see just a few years back. Furthermore, they were able to prove that they could play roles that weren't minstrel like and had any kind of buffoonery in it. Monique, being a comedian, all hats go off to you. You stepped outside of your box and you nailed your role. Our people have been oppressed for so long. I guess this is why there is a beef between Spike Lee and Tyler Perry. *shurg shoulders* Who makes more money in theaters??? Tyler Perry. Can you guess why? Ummmmm...yeah.