Been seeing incredible speeches made by Viola Davis and Uzo Aduba this awards season. I want to shed light on some of my favorites that aren’t going viral although they should be.
The first was made be Tracee Ellis Ross at the NAACP Image Awards 2015 when she accepted her award for Best Actress in a comedy series.
Ross challenged us all not to represent ‘well’ or ‘correctly’ but instead reminded us to embrace the fullness of our womanhood and to acknowledge the fact that our stars are not the parts they play, they are actors playing a part.
In this new age of resistance against social injustice and with the awakening and growing volume of the ‘conscious’ black community, black stars and especially actors are the subjects of much scrutiny whenever they play a role that can be considered stereotypical.
The social constructs tackled in shows like Empire and Scandal are lost in a sea of commentary about how Kerry is with a white dude and Taraji is being too ‘ghetto.’ Really? We’re just going to ignore the poignant commentary on homophobia in the black community and the true to life situations reflecting government corruption because you want every black woman on TV with a black man and every black man on TV to be straight? Sorry but that’s not real life. And these things don’t make a person any less black.
Which is why I was ecstatic to see my girl Taraji P. Henson receive the entertainer of the year award. She is an amazing and multi dimensional actress who has received a lot of flack for some of the roles she chooses, but like she said in her speech (which quoted my boo from another lifetime Tupac) ‘I may not make the change I want to see in this world but I could spark the mind that changes the world.’ She also spoke earlier in the night about using her art to be a beacon of light and tell a wide variety of stories.
David Oyelowo, best actor winner for his role in ‘Selma,’ made one of the night’s most powerful speeches, humbly reflecting on brotherhood, giving all the nominees love, expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to play such a ‘transcendent human being’ as MLK and the importance of supporting Black female directors by ‘voting for them at the box office.’
Ava Duvernay’s impeccable style and poignant speech outlining the racial realities for Black men in America definitely deserve an honorable mention no matter how salty I am that not ONE female victim of police brutality was mentioned.
And now I’m just going to show off the young people. You know Tajhy luh da kids!
Yara Shahidi, Marcus Scribner, Miles Brown & Marsai Martin of ‘Blackish’ on ABC.
Quvenzhane Wallis of ‘Annie’