Photos of black actresses

There are those who believe that African American women have “come a long way baby” in regards to the world of movies and television. It appears that they have evolved from being just maids and cooks on film.  They no longer are seen standing quietly with their heads bowed down, eyes looking downwards at the ground, never giving eye contact to their white co-actors.
  In 1939 Hattie McDaniel was the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress” in Gone with the Wind. The story takes place in the South during the era of the end of slavery and, of course, Hattie played the devoted Black maid who would never leave her mistress. What do people most remember about the Black women in Gone with the Wind? The high squeaky voice of Butterfly McQueen claiming “I don’t know nothing ‘bout birthin' babies!”

  Speed forward to Halle Berry, the first African American woman to win an Oscar Award for Best Actress in 2002. She plays the role of a Black woman who falls in love with the White prison guard who “guarded” her Black husband who was executed in the movie Monster’s Ball. What is most remembered about the Black woman in Monster’s Ball? Halle Berry’s nude sex scene that appeared to be real and not an act. Her co-star Billy Bob Thornton told the Huffington Post “It felt so real when we were doing it…”

  Today we have Taraji P. Henson playing the rough and tough “Cookie” on the television series Empire.  Cookie has done time for a drug charge and is now home to “take back what’s hers” from her ex who also ends up in prison. This show appears to be mainly focused on the sexuality of the Black men, one of them being Cookie’s son. Some say Empire was “snubbed” by the Emmy Awards when the show didn’t take top honors. The Television Critics Association Awards made up for it by naming it the “Program of the Year” and other awards.

  Kerry Washington plays a well-educated, powerful, independent, strong Black woman who seems to have one main weakness, loving the married White President of the United States. Scandal is the name of this television series and it is indeed scandalous. However, it seems to be the first television “drama” starring a Black women since the 1974 hit Get Christie Love! staring Tessa Graves as a policewoman.

  There are too many “reality shows” that depict Black women as uncaring, loud, crude talking, angry, vicious and violent women who don’t love or respect each other, and it appears, themselves. Is that really the “reality” of the Black woman? Is this an attempt to undermine the brilliant, strong, powerful force that Michelle Obama brought to the White House? Keep the young people, and some older folks, glued to the television set, or whatever devise they use to keep up with their reality shows, watching Black women fight, curse and commit adultery, dress half naked while they ignore the impressive lady like, the classy, educated and beautiful “first lady” of America.

  The saving grace in all of this is Cicely Tyson who only acted in roles that portrayed Black women as positive role models who stood for integrity and success. She won many awards in film, television and as a stage actress. This year the beautiful Viola Davis, was the first Black woman to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama entitled How to get away with murder.

  The most important thing that we can do in regards to what we watch or allow our children to watch on television, at the movies or on the stage is to remember that what is portrayed on the screen is not always the real reality or truth. We have the power to control what visions and sounds we plant inside our minds and the minds of our minor children. We have the means to control the plight of the Black American actress based on what we continue to pay our money for at the box office, what channels we watch on our television and what we demand of the film industry in regards to the truth and quality of the movies and television shows they produce.

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