It's been a short little minute good people, but the MtE Brand is undergoing some revamps here and there. However, just because I've been on a pause of sorts...life has not stopped rolling. The Golden Globes happened and now the Oscar Noms are out. Seems that the acting and artist community of color is left with an upset for another consecutive year regarding a lack of diversity in the Oscar party.
The fact is that quality actors are overlooked and underutilized often and it is not new by any means. The fact is that someone like Denzel can do a performance like that of Malcolm X and Glory, but win for his role in Training Day. Or Halle with Monster's Ball and no love for her amazingly poignant portrayal of Dorothy Dandridge. And this is not to disparage the talent of these artists, the quality of the characters that the good old boys did show them love for, or even to attack the portrayal of less than polished and/or morally palatable characters. This is to say that we get nods often not for the exercising of amazing work and talent and depth and so on...we get nods for doing those things and still being within the viewfinder that the masses are most apt to see us anyway.
And then what happens? We get upset, outraged, mad, want to boycott and all that good stuff. And again, I'm not for a split second denying the impact those things can have. However, I was taught a while back by several of my film/media mentors...a system that was not created for you, even over decades and a century, will still never allow you to fully blossom under or within it.
I mean, my soror, the late, great Hattie McDaniel was the FIRST African American to win an oscar and she was not even supposed to be in the damn club where the event was held at that time. She won for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind. And you know why? Not simply because she was good, but because she had to schlep over 40 copies of articles that singled her out in the film as having delivered an Oscar-worthy performance to her people at the studio and she MADE the studio submit her to be considered. But the side table that she had to be relegated to - which in and of itself was a favor called in by her white agent, as it was a segregated club at the time and Oscar nod or not, she was BLACK - was the aside she'd continue to be dealt for the next 74 maids that she played. However, she was often quoted as saying "I'd rather play a maid than be one!"
So you see friends...Oscar - since birth - aint really in the business of lending his time and gold statues to the likes of Tyrone and Lashelle and Kion in this here industry. BUT, I no longer bellyache on that. I make my art. I work with others that make good art.
And you know what else I do...I dream...in COLOR. I dream of "black and brown and beige folks" one day lauding me as a voice of my people and a mistress of my craft. I dream that they understand that while that voice may come with some snark and possibly even a neck roll...it will also be delivered with amazing and visually descriptive dialogue, depth and truth about who we are and can be, it will come with a bit of Brooklyn stank and more love than I can muster up. Know why? Because I just love to create great work.
Do I want an Oscar one day for something...sure. But I know that my grandparents will be up there high-fiving Jesus and getting the Angel Gabrielle to 'Dab on'em when I get that NAACP Image Award, win that Audelco or perform a live, solo act on the Apollo stage (and it's not Amateur Night).
So while I strive for excellence and greatness, and I love and respect the giants whose shoulders I stand on daily...I dream large, big, huge dreams for myself, my company and my cohorts...but I am learning more and more to dream in color. Dream in the realm of the accolades created for and by those of my color. And be okay when my black is not the black chosen to go into the mainstream's black and white periscope.