Give Black Actors and Actresses Their Due!

I am disgusted at how Blacks are talked about in movie history when they are talked about. So called movie historians or black movie historians should know better. They know the racism and discrimination these talents faced, give them what they always wanted, people to judge them by their talent not color. Donald Bogle's books continually insults black actresses and actors worser then the whites. He spends more time talking about "how light" or "how dark" such and such was and how they couldn't get this or do that. He tries to separate blacks by skin color and labels many as mulatto, basically saying, they were either more prettier because of the white blood in them or it doomed them. Why would a Black say such things about their own people. He more then anyone should know these women and men have been insulted, classified and labelled most of their life cause of how they look. Why can't he spend half of his books talking about their talents, how much of an impact they had on people, spend time on what they did do instead of what they didn't.

Don't discriminate with Black History. I don't like how some writers try to group the different colors of black together by saying, darks did this and the lights did that or they couldn't do this or that. I think that is ignorant. When it comes to Black History, Blacks of all tones have achieved, accomplished, endured which future Blacks of all tones have benefited from.

I get tried of authors taking up the whole book discussing skin colors, racism and discrimination. We all know about that but half of us don't know about their talents and how hard they tried to make many then see it, their one wish is for us to see it now. I think most take up half the book talking about skin tones, racism and discrimination is because they don't know what to say or haven't actually researched these people, just writing their thoughts and views on the stars.

Race is apart of their story of course because the studios and life made it important. But some people miss the big picture, they talk so much about the person's looks and race they say very little on their talent, life, their impact on people. That's one big Bogle did with Fredi Washington and Nina Mae McKinney. I believe because he didn't know what to say, readers left not really knowing who these women were. I just would want to give them a fair chance like the white actresses are given. If discrimination against the white actresses are talk about, a few lines or a column is spent on it like Jean Harlow or Marilyn Monroe's blonde hair and curvy figures kept them from getting serious roles, they had to play the sex symbols and seductresses all the time which sadden them, it's discussed but white authors don't drag on about it, but it's different for a black actress, her discrimination she faces and her skin tone takes up the whole book. With Nina Mae, she did a lot for her time many didn't get the chances she got. She knew as a black person what she could do or couldn't do but she didn't let the "couldn'ts" get her down, she did wonderful things with what she could do, same with the rest of the black actresses but that's never talked about. I think talking about the racism and discrimination and making that the main story keeps them in their place, keeps them a "black" actress instead of an actress. I haven't as of yet heard a black actress talked about in the same way like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford. Fredi Washington and Evelyn Preer has the right and talent to be mention in the same genius wording as them but no one has as of yet. They just talk about Fredi's and Evelyn's very light skin and how they couldn't get certain roles and how they could pass. Plain ignorance and a discredit to them. The people who discuss them in that way is just as ignorant as the people who discriminated against them. Biographers have no right to say how wrong people were to them because their doing it as well by not equally talking about their talent and life as much as their stereotype.

Hattie McDaniel and Louise Beavers were wonderful, sure they were in maid costumes but they made you look beyond that costume if you wanted to, they had great sense of humor, stole many scenes from the leading white stars, but people just look at them and say, "oh their sell outs," they miss their talent. People fail to realize, they got opportunities over whites, studios chose blacks because they liked the wittiness, sassiness, fresh style, they could do things whites couldn't do, the maid costume was a camouflage. Many whites played maid roles but weren't nearly as memorable as the blacks who played the maid roles because they brought something new to the screen, but white actresses weren't looked at as sell outs but as actresses, black actresses haven't as of yet.

Let's face it people, In entertainment your stereotyped, it's not fair but that's the way it is or there is a certain type to play certain things. Blacks are stereotyped, Latinos, Blonde, Red Heads, Busty women, Fat women, but a talented one is one who makes people see beyond that stereotype and see that their more even if they are being that stereotype. Hattie and Louise talent went far beyond the maid suit, they were stereotyped, but was versatile and talented, they did more then just cater to whites on screen. But again whites and some blacks keep them in their places and prolong their recognition as actresses by saying, "oh well, they were black and that's all they could get was maid roles, their not real actresses, they were stereotypes." They were real actresses, in real life, they weren't maids, they were just playing a role, and though they may have been stereotyped, they still showed their talent, no one could hold that back.

I don't know if you ever heard of Mildred Washington. She was a beautiful woman. She was in a few movies, in maid suits of course but wow she made you look beyond that. She was bright, sexy, and charismatic in the few of her scenes and stole the scenes from the leading white stars especially in Torch Singer with Claudette Colbert. Nina Mae was entertaining and sexy in "Safe In Hell" with Dorothy MacKaill. She was excellent as a confidante and hotel clerk. Nina Mae felt like well I may be stereotyped but they can't stereotype how I act...that's the main point, the acting, the talent should be judged. No one last long in the business just based on how they look, they got to have talent to back it up. Talent is something many had but many today are doing the same things their blaiming whites for being guilty of...discrimination and labelling instead of broadening the horizon.

I would one day love to see a book on classic cinema including beautiful photographs of white and black actresses. Someone told me that would be impossible, it wouldn't sell. Why wouldn't it? Both races contributed to cinema, both races had beauty. Beauty don't discriminate, only people do! Beauty is beauty, regardless of race. Are people that prejudice to not want to see black beauties included in with whites? One person could make that happen and change the world. Movies is an American culture, don't separate and make Black and White cinema, Black and White beauty. People should appreciate beauty for what it is. People show their real view on race in their writing and how they include or don't include Blacks.

People want to write about Blacks in Cinema and Entertainment but they write very little about blacks talent, determination, strength, integrity, impact, and so many other wonderful things. I think people have this concept that when you talk about Blacks, the only way to talk about them is about the racism and discrimination and some feel they should only be talked about or movies shown just in Black History Month. If I ever do anything, I will spend my time on writing about their talents, versatile talents, impact, pride, beauty just like I would the white actresses. If this is the land of the free and all men/women created equal, show it, prove it! I want to give the actresses and actors what they always wanted to be judged by their talent not by the color of their skin or how they were stereotyped and discriminated against. I will talk about what they did do instead of what they didn't because that's the most important and what made them stars and legends. So many talk and write about how Blacks weren't given a fair chance, well you can give them a fair chance now. Give them their due, honor, recognition. and respect.

I also want to add it saddens me when I see websites on classic white movie stars but there aren't any photos or biographies of black actresses or actors added, again, prolonging and contributing to partiality and prejudice, some are acting just like the old studio heads who ignored blacks, not giving them their due publicity and promoting. If things have changed so much, how come whites don't include black actresses and actors on their website, in their books, show their movies more often on TV? Even the more well-known Nina Mae McKinney, Fredi Washington, Paul Robeson, Canada Lee, Dooley Wilson, Lena Horne, and Dorothy Dandridge aren't feature on websites of classic movie stars, though their beauty and talent was and is equal.

I would include both blacks and whites on my site, believe me I'm a fan of many white actors and actresses whom I'm able to just see as human beings and not as white and enjoy them for their talents, but I feel since there are so many websites on classic white movie stars and not even one on black actors and actresses, (not even photos of classic Hollywood black actors and actresses are included on classic Hollywood movie stars photograph websites, websites featuring biographies on classic Hollywood movie stars don't even feature one on the many classic Hollywood black movie stars) I felt I have to do something for the golden era black stars since no one honors them or finds them important enough in classic cinema to research, pay tribute to, and see beyond their race and color, so I have to be partial as well. Partiality breeds partiality! Whites will only care about movie stars of their race, putting them number one, and taking care in preserving their legacy, while blacks will have to rescue, take care, honor, and preserve stars of their own race legacy. Hopefully, they'll be a day when everyone will honor all classic stars of all races equally on websites, in books, and tv. We can make up for the past and be equal now unlike ones before us, but if we continue to be like our past then the ugliness of the past will never be forgotten or healed.

Caroline Snowden, Nina Mae McKinney, Mildred Washington, Evelyn Preer, Fredi Washington, Daisy Bufford, Theresa Harris, Edna Mae Harris, Louise Franklin, Mildred Boyd, Niles Wells are just the few of ones who contributed their talent and beauty to Hollywood films deserves much recognition.

I want to conclude we need more blacks to beome reasearchers, writers, and biographies of classic black entertainment. We have a lot of white researchers and writers when it comes to blacks in blues, jazz, swing, big band, and music and dancing of the 1920's, 1930's, and 1940's in general, but not many black researchers and writers in that area, and we have really only have one or two black researchers and writers of blacks in classic cinema, we need more, we need versatility, because no one person thinks or writes alike, so the more the better, so we all can help in researching and telling the unsung stories and introducing their talents and the people behind the talents to the world because there are many black talents deserving recognition, many stories waiting to be discovered and told, that one or two alone can't do the job. It's hard but a rewarding job in preserving history and preserving the black talents who've been overlooked and lost in history.

I hope ones who read this think about some things and have a change of heart!