OWN Network had two new shows that made me smile. First up was Black Actresses in Hollywood. This was an hour long segment that Oprah was inspired to film because of Gabrielle Union’s rousing speech at a pre-Oscar bash titled, Black Women in Hollywood. Union, the recipient of the Fierce and Fearless award, used her acceptance speech as a platform for calling black women in Hollywood out, starting with herself.
The speech which began with, “We live in a town that rewards pretending…” Union goes on to talk about experiences in her young life being embarrassed and ashamed of being black. How growing up watching television and movies she never saw herself represented. She speaks eloquently and passionately about the racial prejudice in Hollywood, comically taking on the voice of a white casting agent, “Hey, if we’ll go black, it will totally be you.” The audience gives a knowing chuckle. She segues and begins what seems to me (an industry outsider) to be some sort of mea culpa for who she was, which was apparently; a big bitch.
“I took joy in people’s pain and I tapped danced on their misery,” she admits looking around the room (to her left especially, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was where Kerry Washington sat). She goes on to call out those in the industry who act selfishly and do not work to make the world a better place. “Women, fearless and fierce women, admit mistakes, and they work to correct them. We stand up and we use our voices for something other than self promotion.”
What spoke to me most was Gabrielle’s call for all of us to change. To the do the work and to realize “you would actually like to be happy and not just say you’re happy.” Her call for self betterment and change has come at a time when change is pervading my life and the world around all of us. From the summer solstice, to the super moon, human beings are being pushed into a new phase of awareness and it is starting small; a festival, a speech, a female Fox News reporter telling off her misogynist, racist co-anchor, or even Jim Carrey deciding not to do promotion for Kickass 2 because of Sandy Hook’s violence. Change is coming…and right about now, I feel a little excited.
Part 2 is coming…