Thursday, August 25, 2011

I LOVED The Help!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I ENJOYED the movie, The Help. I read the book and enjoyed that as well. The movie was rather close to the book so if someone doesn’t read the book they can still enjoy the movie. I am stating my love of both the book and the movie because there has been so much written about why black folks shouldn’t like The Help. Well if you know me then you know I don’t cotton to anyone telling me what to like or dislike especially if their justification revolves around “because you are black, you shouldn’t like such and such.”

HOLD ON! WAIT A MINUTE – you have to be kidding me. Right?! Well know that I think that kind of reasoning is just plain CRAZY TALK! Black folks, red folks, brown folks, white folks, and yellow folks do not have to agree with their “tribe,” at all times. I mean there are some issues that are central to a group for instance The Civil Rights Movement. I don’t think there were too many black folks saying: I don’t agree with this thing called civil rights; therefore, we shouldn’t get involved. Most disagreements regarding the CRM were around the methods not the overall validity of the movement itself.

I am a writer so I always appreciate a good book and The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a very good book. Her characters ring true and are clearly delineated from one another. I don’t want to hear how Kathryn cannot write a black female character because she can and she did. If a writer doesn’t like The Help then they should write their own version of it. Keep in mind Kathryn wrote her version based on her observations as a child who was cared for and raised by the help. She gave her black female characters depth, soul, spirit and DIGNITY. Her homage to her personal, Aibileen is filled with love, understanding and compassion.

Some people have written that the movie is a feel good movie for white folks. Stop the madness people. The book and movie is about African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s a very different time from 2011 and 1868 for that matter. Sometimes I think black folks want to act like certain things did not happen. As if we are here now, wherever that is and we don’t have to dredge up those old times.

What is so wrong with highlighting the dignity of women who had to leave their children every day to raise someone else’s children, women who suffered daily indignities but suffered in silence displaying an inner strength that some people like to say “better them than me.” If we lived in those times we would have got along to get along too. Because of those women, black women today have so many other options. Those women from The Help put many a child through college and graduate school. There should be no shame attached to those women. Highlighting the Aibileens and Minnies of the world is not dredging up old times rather it is paying respect to women who came before us and raised others children to insure that we would not have to do the same.

Two days ago I responded to a post on Facebook that basically said don’t tell me how to feel. See below for my FB post:

As a Black Native American woman I am so tired of films that feature black characters having the added burden of correcting old racial problems. Why? Why? Why? Why can't The Help be a story with great characters that tells a story that entertains some and enlightens others? Why the extra burden of fixing an old problem especially one as sticky as racial segregation in MS in the 60s? It's a book people - it's a movie -why do we expect either one to fix a thorny issue like how maids were treated by their bosses during the Civil Rights Movement? Stop the madness is just a MOVIE made from a BOOK.

I don't expect The Help to rectify old problems. And while I am a Democrat it has always bothered me that some over the top Democrats aka raging Liberals think it's okay to tell me, a woman of color how to respond to a situation or representation of a situation when they never have to deal with any situation that I have found myself in and will surely find myself in again and again. How dare anyone who has the cloak and comfort of melanin-challenged skin dictate to me how I should ever feel about being, seeing or reading anything that has to do with the "black experience" in America? I don't need that type of help. It is offensive and just plain crazy talk people! Now I will put my soapbox away until the next hot button issue presents itself. Love & Light to you all.

Other issues involving The Help: My other issue is when films get made with Black women as major characters there is always some major controversy making it easier for Hollywood to say "It's just not worth it." Thank God The Help is making money because Hollywood always likes the ring of the register. New point: It says something about our society that we think a movie/book should solve century old problems - a little too simplistic.

And finally, as a writer I am in awe of Kathryn Stockett’s persistence in sending out her novel as she continued to receive rejection after rejection, sixty in total. But as we writers say, “Only one has to say yes.” So I too shall continue to send out my work, be it my novel or screenplay, for publication and purchase.

I guess that says it all people…..

I hope this post has been Tasty & Informative like Cupcakes & Travel Magazines.

Love & Light to you all.


  1. This was an Awesome post Valerie!! (I didn't know you were a writer!)

  2. I have not seen or read The Help so I will suspend judgment until I do either or both, but this is a great post. Nice work.