I was puzzled frankly when Queen Latifah did the movie "Bringing Down the House"with Steve Martin. She pulled every stereotype of a black woman possible in the movie. She was loud, big and ghetto. Instead of feeling happy that she had--and is getting--plenty movie roles I was left wondering, "okay but at what cost?"
She has done one movie after another, Shampoo excluded, where she takes on roles that are flagrantly racist, and are outright black woman bashing on the sotto vocce. Like many I loved her style, her presence and voice. She had a dignity about her that I loved. I can even enjoy her Covergirl ads though for obvious reasons, she is not the perfect covergirl and doesn't fit that role at all. But "Hollow Wood" is not listening to our need to pick our own representations...
In a back room somewhere there are people who make decisions that affect what we watch, and who our singers and actors become on screen. It is hard to deny that money is good to make. But if I was offered the chance to do any role, I wonder if I would be able to turn down the money for my principles?
Her weight I suppose is one reason Hollow Wood loves her and finds the roles she will take. She is safe to them, not sexy enough for a white man to want, and not threatening to white females. Always the buxom loud talking diva figure, busting men in the mouth, kicking everybody's you know what, and she stays well, big.
When Latifah did Lorenzo's Oil, I applauded her. She was beautiful in that movie. Sympathetic, realistic and cast correctly. But I wonder now if we will ever see her:
- Take control of her weight and seek out acting jobs that don't depend on her girth and joviality to sell tickets.
- Find more parts that call for less merriment and slapstick and some real drama like she did in the movie "Set it Off" with Jada Pinkett-Smith.
I like Queen Latifa and always want to see a black woman prosper and move up in the world, but at what cost? Perhaps it is just a weight thing, and once that is addressed she will be offered roles that have nothing to do with keeping her distanced from serious jobs and better co-stars, perhaps some male. I haven't planned on seeing the movie "The Last Holiday" with LL Cool J in it. It looks promising basically because he's in it, and perhaps it hints at her getting away from the Aunt Jemima trap