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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

History or entertainment. . .It can't be both

I love Kerry Washington's portrayal of Olivia Pope on ABC's Scandal.
I loved the way she delivered the line, "I love pussy" in Spike Lee's She Hate Me.
I even like the lost girl looking for her mother's love in Lift.

But trying to give more credence to her role as Broomhilda von Shaft in Django Unchained has me scratching my head.
 She said this to the Los Angeles Times:
Washington, though, describes herself not just as a feminist but also a womanist — a term coined by Alice Walker to define black feminism. And the actress sees the role of Broomhilda, written by Quentin Tarantino but derived from a German fairy tale, as a womanist role in that it allows the black woman to embrace a fantasy that historically wasn't available to her.
"I know it's not the most feminist idea to be a woman in a tower wanting to be rescued, but for a woman of color in this country, we've never been afforded that fairy tale because of how the black family was ripped apart [during slavery]," Washington said. "I really saw the value of having a story that empowers the African American man to do something chivalrous for the African American woman, because that hasn't been an idea that has held women back in the culture — it's something we've never been allowed to dream about."
Pause.
Listen, people either love or hate Django Unchained. But everyone keeps saying -- this isn't a history lesson. That's one thing I can agree with everyone on. So, Washington's fairy tale comments bother the heck out of me.
Clearly, I'm not a huge fan of the movie.  But people you can't have it both ways. It's either entertainment or a history lesson. You can't say it's entertainment when you're lashing out at Spike Lee and then talk about how it brought you closer to your ancestors in another breath.
As Washington does here:
Despite the long and arduous shoot, being a part of "Django" isn't something Washington will let go of anytime soon. The actress says she's particularly grateful for the connection the film gave her to her ancestral past.
"One of our background actors was a pastor, and he was saying on set that we are the answer to their prayers — to the very people who walked on this land," she said. "Who we are today — because we can read, own property, vote, marry, have our children and our freedom — that we are the answer to their prayers, and that's why we are here to tell their story."
Because I thought this was just a satirical flight of fancy from the mind of Tarantino?  
With that being said, I still can't wait for Scandal to come back.

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