Throughout the Oscar season we have seen Gabourey Sidibe confidently walked the red carpet. She has openly flirted with Gerard Butler and she has said that she wanted Justin Timberlake to be her Oscar date. She is a poised young woman and seemingly during awards season no one wanted to mention the fact that Gabby is a big girl. Hopefully, she has enjoyed her fifteen minutes because today Howard Stern called her “enormous”. His assessment was brutal, but her size is a valid issue. Oprah Winfrey predicted a billiant career for the young starlet, but this is not a country that celebrates the full figure. Sadly, Stern probably said out loud what many have been whispering to each other.
Tag Archives: Precious
Academy Award Winner MoNique is a sentence that some thought they would never hear. After all this was a woman who had appeared on the sitcom The Parkers, she was one of the Queens of Comedy and she had starred in the movie Phat Girls so this was not a traditional path to an Academy Award. MoNique has won most of the movie awards this season, but tonight she won the big one, but her speech seemed to be more somber than joyful. In her acceptance speech, the actress thanked the Academy, “Gone With the Wind” actress Hattie McDaniel “for enduring all that she had to, so that I would not have to” and her husband “for showing me sometimes you have to forego doing what is popular in order to do what is right.” It was an interesting speech, but she left us wondering where was the joyous MoNique we have come to love.
There was an awkward moment during the NAACP awards the other night. While accepting the award for best director, Lee Daniels said his story was about a 350 lb illiterate girl. Gabourey Sidibe as well as the entire stage was on stage. Sidibe immediately corrected him and said she was not 350 pounds. He immediately corrected himself, but this was a very interesting exchange. Sidibe could be described as morbidly obese. She has done numerous interviews in which she has said she is comfortable with herself, but she would not allow herself to be defined as a 350 lb. person. Some have said that Daniels actually insulted her but I think this is a case of splitting hairs. She may not be 350 but she is close to it, and Daniels was describing a character not her, but if she found the characterization insulting she is the only one that can change it.
The movie Precious was an eye-opening movie with a very controversial subject matter. Precious gave us an unflinching glance at a part of society that we usually don’t see. Gabourey Sidibe is nominated for best actress, Monique for best supporting actor, Lee Daniels for best director and the movie is nominated for best picture. It is an incredible tribute to a brutally honest picture that shed light on a real family tragedy that had issues that could not be resolved in the two hours it took to watch the film.
While watching Oprah Winfrey on Friday I was struck by something she said to the star of ‘Precious”, Gabourey Sidibe. Oprah quoting Precious director Lee Daniels said “Gabby speaks like a white girl from the Valley and is so confident that she is either in denial about her physicality or from another planet.” This is insulting on two levels. It is outrageous that Daniels would say it, and it is astounding that Winfrey would repeat it. Sidibe is an obese woman, but the fact that she is confidant in her own skin is not delusional. It is inspiring. Newsflash: not every big woman is a shame of herself. Some obese people actually like themselves. They do not look in the mirror and see someone else like the character Precious did in the movie. They look in the mirror and they like what they see. I might give Lee Daniels a pass on this one, but Winfrey who has struggled with self acceptance should know better. Sidibe has obviously come to love herself. She said she started dieting when she was six years old. In her twenties she finally found self acceptance and she said “One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body.” Amen to that.
Over the past few weeks I have read many reviews of the movie Precious. Most if not all have been complimentary, but then there was Armond White of the New York Press. He wrote a scathing review that compared Precious to the infamous 1915 drama Birth of a Nation. That is quite the comparison. I saw Birth of a Nation in college and if featured unflattering portrayals of black people with the roles being played by white people in blackface. White said “not since The Birth of a Nation has a mainstream movie demeaned the idea of black American life as much as Precious. Full of brazenly racist clichés (Precious steals and eats an entire bucket of fried chicken), it is a sociological horror show. Offering racist hysteria masquerading as social sensitivity, it’s been acclaimed on the international festival circuit that usually disdains movies about black Americans as somehow inartistic and unworthy.” Precious does not demean the black experience in reality it embraces a part of the black experience that we don’t see. It exists but it is not only invisible to the mainstream it is also invisible to large segments of the black community. The real truth is we don’t want to see it. it is far too raw and too painful for most of us to deal with. Precious removes the veil and we are forced to look at some raw truths. It is ironic that the title character is over 300 pounds and she seeks to blend in. She does not want to be seen, but her size makes that dream impossible. We see a person, a child struggling in an existence that most would find futile. Her struggle is reminiscent of the mythological character Sisyphus. His task was to push a huge rock up a hill with the full knowledge that it would come down again, and he would have to repeat the process. That is the life that Precious had a 24 hours of struggle with the promise of 24 more the following day. Sometimes when you don’t see something you can choose to believe it simply does not exist, but sometimes you are brought face to face with some truths that you do not want to accept. Sometimes you attach some insidious logic to why this truth is exposed. The purpose of Birth of a Nation was to instill fear in the majority. The images were designed to affirm the fear that black power spelled the end to life as they knew it. Precious had no such agenda. Precious is the story of a girl who lived a horrible life and then one day a light came into it, it was not a bright light but it was just enough to give Precious a glimmer of hope and that is what this girl yearned for.
I encourage you to read another insightful post written by Gail on Precious and The Blind Side: http://gaj1206.wordpress.com/
For the past few weeks I have heard nothing but praise for the movie Precious. I thought I would have gotten to see it on November 6th, but my city was not one of the selected cities. So I waited patiently and today I got the opportunity to see it. Precious is an intense drama that frankly discusses issues that we generally only discuss in whispered tones. By now most people know the premise that precious is physically and sexually abused by her mother and her father. Words can not adequately express the pain inflicted on Precious. Precious was such a broken individual she spent time yearning for her fantasy life while at the same time living a heartbreakingly broken life. At one point the character wishes she were dead and at that moment I wanted to give her the bullets. The movie is full of outstanding performances that are so riveting that you feel uncomfortable at times watching the raw emotions. I heard Oprah doing a promotion for the movie and she said we all are Precious, but after seeing the movie I can say we are not. Precious went through personal horrors that most of us will never have to endure, but she managed to come out on the other side. This film does not tie up all loose ends with a big bow, but you leave the movie believing there is still hope for her, and sometimes hope is all you have.
There is Oscar buzz around the performance of Gabourey Sidibe in the movie Precious. Her performance is said to be authentic, touching and in a word incredible. So what will she do after the hype of Precious has subsided? Will Hollywood open its wide arms and embrace this talented woman? No. Hollywood’s arms simply don’t extend quite that wide. There is really no room for the obese in Tinstletown. Sure there are artsy movies like this on that call for a certain type, but they are few and far between. In an ideal world there would probably be roles for her, but black actresses have a tough time getting roles period. Just ask Halle Berry who went from her Oscar Award winning performance in Monster Ball to the dismal Catwoman. Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for Dreamgirls and to date we have seen her In the Secret of Bees and Sex in the City. Winning an Oscar is a major coup, but it is not insurance of a successful future. Actors have to pay rent just like the rest of us so they can’t just sit and wait for the next great role in some cases they are just happy to have a next role. Today, I read that a new movie, Skank Robbers by Jamie Foxx and Martin Lawrence is on the horizon. Martin Lawrence created the character Sheneneh on his show Martin in the mid 90s and Foxx portrayed the character Wanda in the Fox Show Living Color. Both characters were unflattering stereotypes of black women. The film was probably inspired in part by the success of the gender-bending character Tyler Perry created, Madea. So why would Oscar winning Foxx be a part of something like this? He’s got bills to pay and the parts are scare. So while I wish Sidibe well I simply don’t feel she will be a fit in Hollywood.
When I saw the promos for Precious I marked my calendar. The movie was scheduled to be released on November 6th. So on Friday I went online to see where it was playing, but I could not find it. I called a friend of mine and she said it was opening in selected cities on Friday and unfortunately our city was not one of the ones selected. This movie has been hyped beyond belief. As a blogger I received promotional info and trailers so I am extremely disappointed that I have to wait an additional two weeks for the release in this area. Chris Rock’s Good Hair had a similar staggered release and I still have not seen it. David Spitz, head of distribution for Lionsgate said in reference to Precious “a lot of movie-goers are not happy with the release plan right now, because it’s not in their cities yet. That’s always a good sign.” I have seen the cast of Precious interviewed everywhere and I have heard that phenomenal performances dominate the film, but I had been hyped to see it on the 6th. Hopefully I will remember to go see it on the 20th.
Today on his website Tyler Perry shares sordid stories from his childhood. He was a victim of physical abuse from his father and sexual abuse from a church member. Perry said that is father also physically abused his mother. It is interesting that he decided to share this information prior to the release of the movie Precious. Perry and Oprah Winfrey were major financial backers of the film. The main character in the movie experiences abuse at the hands of both her mother and her father. One website posted a poll asking if they thought his revelations were a way to promote the film. Perry does not have to stoop to that level to promote a film. I have watched most of Perry’s films and each one of them has domestic violence as an underlying theme. In some cases Perry has handled domestic violence in a comedic way, and there is nothing funny about it. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month maybe his revelations will give someone else hope who feels their situation is hopeless. As Perry said “I know that there are a lot of people out there with stories far worse than mine but you, too, can make it. To those of you who have, welcome to life. I celebrate you we’re all PRECIOUS in His sight.”