I faced a bit of confusion when I sat down to type this paper. I was pondering exactly where to begin, with so many thoughts, opinions and unanswered questions, I just decided to write. I don't know if you really need to include this statement. The issue that I decided to shine light upon is the seemingly reoccurring lack of room for originality of black actresses in film. Not the fact that there are very few roles accessible for the black actress or the fact that only certain black actresses that fit a certain image actually are offered roles, instead, it's the fact that Black women in film seem to be given very little room to showcase their acting abilities. Either they are cast to play a stereotypical role, or while in character they must recite a few "ghetto" reminder lines.
No, not all black women are the same and I'm not saying that some black women don't fit the stereotypes out there, It's just that but as a moviegoer I want to be entertained, scared, enlightened, or thrilled by some action. I don't need to see the embarrassing stereotypes brought to life, and I don't care to see black women exploited to get an extra laugh from the audience. (maybe this sentence should come right after the one that ends in: "ghetto" reminder lines to capitalize on the point that you were trying to make in that sentence). During the mid 1900's, black women such as Hattie McDaniel were typecast in Hollywood film.
Looking back at the time, I understand what was going on back then with racism. Though that doesn't justify anything, I would expect that in those times. However, in this new millennium, I find it hard to swallow that this same thing is going on and many black actresses are accepting it and the film studios are allowing it. In the black community you can find just as many movie patrons that totally ignore or just don't pick up on what's going on in the films as you can people that detect as well as detest it. Many of those that detect and detest it also tend to blacklist black actresses that continue to star in such demeaning roles. Currently riding off of extreme success and releasing it seems at least one movie per year, Halle Berry opened the doors for many black actresses.
First appearing on the scene in the early 1990's in low-budget films, Halle was definitely unique and caught the eye of many Hollywood film heavyweights. As of today, Halle is in a position where she can choose whichever role she wants and turn down any that she doesn't. Many black activists and much of the black community are currently uneasy about the image that Halle is choosing to portray in her latest films. To make things clear as far as my personal opinion goes on this next issue, I personally look at Halle Berry as a smart woman that has made her way to the top and has the creative control that every black actress wants. Yes, some of her roles have been controversial, but that does not make me look at her as many have started to. I frequent an online, predominantly black message board courtesy of "EzBoard.
com," and I recently created a topic titled "How many of you plan to go see Gothika when it hits theatres?" (Gothika is Halle's upcoming, thriller movie release) And one particular poster left this message "burn Hollywood burn! Halle berry is a straight up Hollywood black woman stereotypical ho-slut image. Don't support Hollywood!" That statement is an issue in itself, and I can pull many questions, topics and opinions from it. I interpret the message as basically saying that Halle Berry has been allowed to make it to the top because she portrays the stereotypical roles that Hollywood film directors want portrayed. The images she has portrayed as an actress have been viewed by many as sluttish, whorish, and too stereotypical to be proud of her accomplishments. Many black actresses have had the same type of roles as Halle Berry. Some may have even been more stereotypical and degrading but because Halle Berry is Halle Berry and so many black women saw her as their representation, they are now disappointed because of the direction she has allowed her career to go in..