I’m not one of those people who thinks that white people shouldn’t have opinions on popular black culture. I chime in with my thoughts on One Tree Hill and Friends every now and again. But on Sunday, a round table discussion between Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Gabrielle Union and Alfre Woodard aired on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” discussing the dearth of roles for black women in Hollywood. They shared some of the challenges black actors face and one in particular stood out – the amount of “types” for white actresses. There’s a Meryl Streep type, a Charlize Theron type, an Emma Stone type, etc. But for black women, there are pretty much younger woman and older woman.
There are far less well-known black actors and actresses than white actors, but that’s not merely because of the roles presented to them. It’s partially because there are obsessions with a small group of black celebrities who seem to appeal to white people the most. If you’re really into any of the celebrities, maybe fire up Scandal on the Netflix and get into Kerry Washington, or become enamored with Jurnee Smollet, Michael B. Jordan and read the brilliant works of Lynn Nottage, Katori Hall and Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Being gay, I can’t tell you how many white gays I know who pray at the altar of Oprah in their times of despair. I was at a kickball game in West Hollywood recently and when one of the teams was on the verge of defeat, a player shouted, “What would Oprah do in this situation?!” I don’t know girl, what would Oprah do in this situation? Probably be on the phone with her assistant for leaving her at a park in the middle of Hollywood. Oprah has overcome a lot of adversity in her past and she’s definitely a woman to be admired, HOWEVER, the last thing she’s truly inspired has been the sales of SUVs. And black people really can’t get into the fact that she’s airing television shows produced by…
2. Tyler Perry
I know it’s funny that Tyler Perry likes to put on dresses and makes shitty movies but he is not that funny, y’all. Just the mention of Tyler Perry is not enough to bring people to hysterics anymore, particularly when he’s using his films to tear down career-oriented women, revel in homophobic stereotypes and tell you that contracting HIV is your fault for letting yourself get raped on a plane (and will also cause you to rapidly age, unless you’re Brandy). Thankfully, there have been a myriad of articles written about how his films aren’t just bad, they’re offensive and damaging, but seriously, we know he’s bad. So stop bringing him up. Because we’re tired of talking about him.
3. Kanye West
I love Kanye. I’ll talk about Kanye any day of the week. But, I also like a host of other hip-hop artists, along with non hip-hop music like The Civil Wars and Selena Gomez (I am ready to come and get it, Selena). Black people are aware that he does a lot of crazy shit like have children with Kardashians and act materialistic, but a lot of white artists are materialistic and aren’t singing about the new Jim Crow laws of the American penitentiary system. So while he may have an ego, maybe take a moment to look at what else Kanye is rapping about and how that might be important to black people before you come at them with “Boy, that Kanye is crazy, huh?! Nucleus!”
4. Tyra Banks
We stopped watching Top Model like five years ago, so stop texting me GIFs of this crazy heffa, please.
5. Whoopi Goldberg
Is this all because of Ghost and the Sister Act movies? Because if you’re truly a Whoopi Goldberg addict who would love to discuss the plot intricacies of Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Corrina, Corrina… that’s awesome and I will direct you to my mother, who probably remembers those movies, but I don’t have time to DVR The View so I’m not really up on Whoopi’s everyday activities.
6. Chris Brown
Yes, he beat up Rihanna. Yes he’s a horrible human being who ought to be read whenever he does something else foolish. But it’s not like he’s still dominating the charts anymore. Rihanna is, but Chris really isn’t. So can we stop posting articles every other week about him? No one cares that he sampled an Aaliyah song. I guess it’d be nice if she could rest in peace, but her estate sold the song and I don’t see anybody getting up in arms every time some ringtone rapper samples a Curtis Mayfield song. We’ve read Chris the riot act and the best way to treat him is the same way that John Oliver suggested we deal with Sarah Palin on The Daily Show last week. Just. Stop. Talking. About. Him. And he’ll go away.
If ONE MORE PERSON makes a damn That’s So Raven! reference on social media. Can we talk about The Famous Jett Jackson, or something? What’s he up to these days?
8. Audra McDonald
This is mostly for the theatre queens, but damn, you’d think there weren’t any other black people who can belt on a tune on Broadway. Because I know damn well nobody is obsessed with Audra McDonald because they have every season of Private Practice on DVD.
I literally forgot he existed until he showed up in a new Lonely Island video. Also, it stopped being funny going: “Is it still Diddy? Or is it P. Diddy? What’s he calling himself this week?” when Ben Stiller did that sketch in Diddy’s video from 20,000 years ago when TRL was still on.
10. NeNe Leakes
Miami is where it’s at for the Housewives in the first place. And black people like NeNe well enough, but we weren’t trying to watch The New Normal (and neither was anyone else). We’ll support NeNe in all of her future acting endeavors, as long as they don’t involve Ryan Murphy-penned monologues where she shouts a lot.
11. Maya Angelou
You’d never know there were any other black poets or authors in the world with the way white people like to quote Maya Angelou all the damn time. The caged bird is singing because it wants to drown out the sound of you mentioning “Still I Rise” was your yearbook quote.
Not a person, but really. Enough.