By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.
You put yourself in stupid places
Yes, I think you know it’s true
Situations where it’s easy to look down on you
– “Everything to Everyone” by Everclear (a really good song to play in “safe spaces”)
I’ve tried my best to stay away from this topic given its situation, but nah, now is a very critical time to begin legitimate discussion.
Perhaps you have all heard of the “controversial” events of the Hollywood Academy Awards (aka the Oscars) being “so white.” That is not what I am talking about. Perhaps you may have also heard of the strikes that Jada Pinkett Smith and others began to protest the Oscar Awards. That is also not what I am talking about. Perhaps you have likewise heard about the “controversial” remarks that actress Stacey Dash made on the Fox News cable network concerning the perception and reception of black Americans and other persons of African descent in Hollywood. Now we are getting warmer. But also, you may have heard about actress Janet Hubert’s response to Stacey Dash. Ah, now we are at the bit of it.
So…basically Hollywood (the citadel of liberal progress) has been kind of shaky ever since…well…people have gotten mad at the ethnic representation of the glamour awards. “Glamour awards” adequately describes the great plethora of honors that Hollywood socialites award themselves for making good money at the box office on films that only people with Hollywood-taste enjoy. I’m just putting it bluntly. Recently, these glamour awards ticked off a lot of people because they were lacking in ethnic affirmative action. Thus, people like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have decided to protest by not going to the Oscars award ceremony, and they are speaking their mind about it. Surprise, their protest happened to coincide with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday. Symbolism much.
Let’s all remember, the year these events occurred is 2016 anno Domini– this year. The President is black (and white, but let’s not go there right now).
And then comes Stacey Dash, a Hollywood star also of African descent just like Smith and Lee, adding her own two-cents to the Hollywood conversation. Dash very blatantly asserted that if people in Hollywood really want full ethnic representation, then they should stop endorsing nominally-segregated channels like “Black Entertainment Television (BET)” and start having fully-integrated, nationally-syndicated channels representing all America’s ethnicities as they are. Dash also took on mainstream America, stating that black American history shouldn’t be regulated to a specific month, but rather be celebrated like the rest of American history. (Conversations about historical white American figures happen year-round with a firmly established degree of societal normalcy). Her bottom line: we are all American.
But, sadly, Dash’s statements were made on Fox News, aka grape Kool-Aid (see my earlier post about Kool-Aid). Dash’s statements, coupled with the fact that she has established quite a presence on Fox News, opened her up to every single criticism imaginable by the very same community that hosted the 2016 glamour awards that ended up looking more like a 1925 Alabama country club. Oh boy…
Now enter black American actress Janet Hubert. You know, Janet Hubert…or as she is better known through television, the first Aunt Viv from the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” That was the show that launched the acting career of Jada Pinkett Smith’s husband Will Smith, also of African descent. Boy, the circle of black American actors is pretty small, isn’t it? Hubert made a YouTube video commenting on the Oscars (excuse me, glamour awards) protest fiasco that I will leave you to dig up for yourself. HuffPost Live later invited her to appear in the video that I already linked at the beginning this piece (you should really click on these hyperlinks).
I will skip what Janet Hubert stated about Jada Pinkett and Will Smith because most of it stems from a decade’s old feud between Hubert and Will relating to how Hubert was replaced as Aunt Viv on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” I really want to focus on what Hubert mentioned about Stacey Dash’s integration claims. Hubert’s bottom line: Dash is a “media ho” who needs to have “the little bit of black she got on her” slapped off.
Hubert’s reason for her words: black actors/actresses have worked too hard in Hollywood to get what they are able to receive (which looking at the glamour awards is…neh?). Black actresses/actors have labored too long for something as precious as Black History Month to be sacrificed for the cause of annually celebrated history that is inclusive of the black American experience. Black Hollywood and the modern world need BET, the internationally aired modern version of a cable network designed to be the go-to place for all black people, like a cable ghetto. Hubert summarizes her stance against Dash by also claiming that the actress has made more appearances on BET than most black actors/actresses in Hollywood, effectively labeling Dash as a hypocrite (Ancient Greek irony much).
Let’s consider what Dash said in order to see if she makes sense. Dash is saying that the outrage that black Hollywood icons like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are expressing really doesn’t touch on the main issue in Hollywood. Dash states that Hollywood’s segregated tradition of making small, separate sections for blacks still courses in its DNA. In fact, Dash is stating that Hollywood is a segregated bastion that still has not yet been fully integrated. Now, some will say that this is false and anachronistic. I will only say, look at the 2016 glamour awards and who is doing the protesting. Look at the recent apology made by Hollywood this year for the “Gods of Egypt” movie. Look at the 2014 movie “Exodus” or the 2014 movie “Noah” or the 2015 “Tut” miniseries from Spike. Do these Hollywood works sufficiently represent the historical presence of dark skinned peoples in Africa and beyond? Oh, they don’t? Mhmm, but let’s keep it rolling on Dash’s words. Dash says that black American history is American history and thus should not and needs not be regulated to a month (the shortest month of the year). It should be year-round history and spoken about as normally as George Washington. Does that sound racist? Hmm, no.
Now lets look at Hubert’s statements in bullet points.
- Dash needs to have “the little bit of black she got on her slapped off”
Well, since Hubert is darker than Dash, what we have here is a particular example of racism colorfully called colorism. Now, colorism was a term invented to replace the term racism…because that’s what it really is. It’s just awkward for people who buy into the “one-drop black logic” from slavery to recognize that maybe it isn’t necessarily true to put everybody with “one-drop of African blood” into the category of being “black.” When they see “black” people being racist against other “black” people because of skin difference, they go “Oh that’s oddly racist, but it can’t be racism because Negroes are all the same.” So, they call it colorism…which really is just racism in a very blatant form. Phew…that was deep wasn’t it?
Oh, by the way, that means that Hubert just spoke like a racist person. Onward then.
- Black folks have labored too hard to give up Black History Month in order to settle for a perpetual celebration of their history that is fully integrated into the year-round American legacy.
So, black Americans have fought so hard throughout the centuries, and even now with having a black president for 7 years, that they must cling to the month of February as the immovable bastion for celebrating their African heritage. Okay. What is Hubert talking about, really? Does Hubert know about 1926 when Black History Month was established as a week, or 1976 when it was finally uprgraded to a month? Maybe according to this pattern we all need to wait until 2026 for the month to become the season of Black History Winter. Maybe Dash is moving too fast for liberal progress. Shame on her.
- Black folks in 2016 need a cable network whose name literally says “Come look at us, black folks; this is entertainment for you and where your eyes belong”…aka Black Entertainment Television (BET).
So, BET is owned by…well…the same establishment that provides us the glamour awards and movies like “Gods of Egypt.” According to Janet Hubert, Stacey Dash has been featured on BET more than any other actors and actresses. In most circles of most other subjects, that would qualify Dash as being an expert, in this case an expert on BET. Honestly, looking at how small the circle of black Hollywood is…I don’t see anybody else being a match in expertise to Stacey Dash if I take Janet Hubert at her word. So, when Dash says that BET is segregationist, I have good reason to believe her insider’s wisdom. I mean, its in the name and the programming.
- Dash is a “media ho.”
Okay. So let’s remember the historical usage of the words “ni–er/ni–a” and “hoe/ho” in describing black males and females from my earlier conversation about safe spaces. It’s all slave master language 101. So…in coordination with her racist comment on Dash’s light skin complexion, Hubert also uses plantation language to describe Dash’s infatuation with the camera spotlight. Hoooooold up. Both of these women are actresses, which means that both make their occupational living from being in the camera spotlight. Bear in mind that Hubert made these statements on the HuffPost Live (camera spotlight), a network that invited her onto the show after she posted a YouTube video of herself (camera spotlight) critiquing the Smith family and Spike Lee for their refusal to attend the glamour awards (camera spotlight in essentia). Is there inconsistency here? Yes. Is there any consistency here? What, you mean the consistency in Hubert’s using slave plantation language against another black person? Sure there is.
But to her credit, Hubert’s calling out of Dash is partly substantiated because Dash does have a history of going against general knowledge from time to time. For example, Dash disagreed with Meredith Vieira by calling the gender wage gap statistic that says women earn less than men “an excuse.” Of course we all know that the wage gap statistic claiming that women are only paid 77% of a man’s wages for the exact same job is true! Of course it applies to socialites like Vieira and Dash who have already made more money than I stand to make in my entire life! Of course it applies to Vieira and Dash, one woman who gets paid 6 figures for talking to famous people and another who gets paid even more for being famous, while I and countless others will be “underpaid” for educating America’s next generation of socially-accountable human beings.
Well, we know the gender wage gap to be undeniably true…unless we consult the Huffington Post (motherbase of HuffPost Live, where Hubert made her racist rants), the Washington Examiner, Time (the motherbase of Time Magazine), the Wall Street Journal, and the National Organization for Women (NOW)
…all of which say that the 77¢ to $1 gender wage gap statistic is morbidly false. Be careful to check my sources before you barf, I even have feminists backing me up on this one.
Well, heck, maybe Janet Hubert is right. Maybe Stacey Dash is just an example of what happens when a black actress gets too used to the media spotlight and starts demanding integration reform, making modern Hollywood look like a segregated theater. Americans all over should be perfectly fine with having year-round “white” American history and having the months of February, October, and November for “black” American, Latino American, and indigenous American histories. Blacks, Latinos, and Indians are minorities anyway, so they should be happy for the yearly reminders. That’s equality!
Maybe the Smiths and Spike Lee are also wrong on this.
Maybe they should listen to Janet Hubert and return to their rightfully earned and fought-for section in the liberal progressive bus.
What do you think?