Author Topic: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch  (Read 5825 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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IN HOLLYWOOD GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL. by Stanley Crouch 
from THE ROOT.com

I sincerely doubt that the audience and Oscar whammy being attempted by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry will change anything for black actresses in Hollywood. Precious is extremely powerful but it is not that strong, nothing seems to be.   

Even if totally successful on every level from commercial success to a cultural shift melting away the paralysis of self-pity, Hollywood will continue to go along as it has gone because too many people are satisfied with the cardboard darkies they have gotten in the past and the transformation into figures only revolutionary because of their contemporary cardboard decadence right now.

When one looks at Byron Hurt’s Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes or his equally import Barack & Curtis, everything in the way of black actresses should become clear. Most people, black or white or whatever else are not disturbed by the reduction of black women into into only beautiful but lascivious sperm buckets, abrasive bitches “deserving” of beat-downs, or overweight hams each the size of two women and whose sentimentality is as far removed from life and actual sentiment as molasses is from the taste of salt.

There seems to be no appetite for the combination of toughness, intelligence, and unpretentious empathy seen in Michelle Obama, especially when she could not hold back tears as she listened to Joe Biden speak of his dead wife at the Democratic Convention, or as she was moved to the vocal quaver just short of tears by the depth of feeling shown her by those girls of every color in London.

Black women need not be angels any more than men need be, but the greatest impact of art is through its summoning or emblazoning of humanity. Yes, I said it: h-u-m-a-n-i-t-y. One could not believe it now, given the commercial commitment that so dominates the decadence for sale that we presently see in almost anything supposedly “authentic” and black, but the world -shaking, soothing, and inspiring impact had by black Americans on the entire world has usually come through as a form of morale arrived at through its confidence in both the weight and the wings of an inner life driven by humanity.

That is what an actress both beautiful and extremely talented like Angela Bassett has and no one has known what to do with because there is only the tiniest interest in the humanity she can bring to a part. George C. Wolfe and I once discussed what Bassett brought to Lady Macbeth when she dellivered each of her monologues in an unprecedented style very close to arias.

No one noticed, no one cared. Had they, Bassett would have had at least half as many top of the line parts written for her as that Australian blonde heifter who can act her cakes off but has gotten enough work for a barrel full of high-powered and subtle actresses as good as they come--across color lines.

The literally huge star of Precious had better enjoy her fame while she can because black actresses never have less than a hard row to hoe. Even if as beautiful for the inner life they bring to characters as they are in the looks department, they have little chance.

Kerry Washington was astonishingly human in  Our Song, so were Jurnee Smollett and Meagan Good in Eve’s Bayou when they were kids a decade ago and superbly contrasted by the adult complexities of Lynn Whitfield and Debbi Morgan, both of whom were nearly magical presences because the film was substantilally broaded by their completely different characters. The same is true of Tasha Smith who is one of the finest talents in Hollywood: she can be lower than a snake in wagon tracks or the actual sweetheart full of sentiment, not sentimentality, that she was in Why Did I Get Married? Nothing seriously good has happened for any of them in artistic terms.

Obviously, proven talent does not matter. It is a problem older than Cicely Tyson, who was once young, beautiful, incredibly talented but her career, for the most part, was pissed away by the system. Movies by almost  anyone other than Kasi Lemmons show no interest in the layers of humanity that we have all seen every year of our lives in the the black, brown, beige, and bone thee dimensions of the women we have known up closer than almost any close-up is given the task of showing.

That is the problem and it is everyone’s fault until enough Americans make it possible for Hollywood to believe there can be commercial success in truly human roles for black women. When and if that happpens, the culture of the entire world will benefit. We all suffer when something valuable is lost to the inevitable indifference of time and frailty.

 

Offline Battle

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2009, 09:54:19 am »
The way many writers portray Hollywood almost sounds like a tangible person instead of the location of opportunity it once was.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2009, 03:39:51 pm »
Crouch tends to annoy me as he often comes off like a "things were better in my day" sort.

That said, this is a depressingly old argument.

There was a time when it was just assumed that Black directors and writers
were going to create worthy roles for black actresses.

Folks are getting a trifle impatient now.

But there is always an element of monday morning quarterbacking in these kinds of pieces.

The Actresses that Crouch loves (like Angela Basset) aren't used correctly so something's amiss.

Did he see SECRET LIFE OF BEES? or HONEYDRIPPER?

If he'd did-he was one of the few.

Creators have a populist bent these days and for the most part they aren't even trying
to create Academy level roles for Black actresses(or ACTORS) for that matter.

They're too busy trying to make something that someone will actually see.

If Precious actually makes a lots of money folks will be embolden to make the kind of material
that Crouch wants to see.

If it doesn't-they wont.

Gina Prince-Bythewood got 11 mil to make SECRET LIFE. Achinson got 8 mil to make Akeelah and the Bee.

By Hollywood standards this isn't a lot of money.

Another reason why folks aren't running them selves ragged to make the next Daughters of the Dust.  
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 06:32:34 am by Vic Vega »

Offline Battle

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2009, 10:15:01 am »


Gina Prince-Bythewood got 11 mil to make SECRET LIFE. Achinson got 8 mil to make Akeelah and the Bee.

By Hollywood standards this isn't a lot of money.

Another reason why folks aren't running them selves ragged to make the next Daughters of the Dust. 


I agree with everything you wrote up to this point. Consider that DVD market (very quickly changing formats into Blu-Ray DVD) that changes the game... a bit.  It's all about how much more (or less) content to put into these discs after the theatrical release than it ever was during the video tape era.


By the way, Ms. Bassett looked scrumptious in Mr. 3000!  :-* ;D

Offline Princesa

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2009, 02:59:18 pm »
If anybody knows ugly it's Stanley Grouch.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2009, 03:12:17 pm »
If anybody knows ugly it's Stanley Grouch.

Watch yourself, Princesa!

Crouch has been known to assault people who have offended him.

That is pretty gangsta for a man who hates that segment of rap music.

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2009, 05:06:42 pm »
If Precious actually makes a lots of money folks will be embolden to make the kind of material
that Crouch wants to see.

And Crouch will be bitching and whining about how we can only get movies like Precious made because they make black people look bad. Honestly, I'm >> << that close to completely disregarding black opinions when it comes to Hollywood, REGARDLESS of where they stand.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2009, 06:05:00 pm »
Guys like Crouch can't have it both ways.

You can't take the racial fairness stance then demand Hollywood make the kind of product you like box office be damned.

Waiting to Exhale cost 15 mil to make but pulled in 65 mil. So that's how How Stella Got Her Groove Back got made.

That cost 20 mil to but into only pulled in 35 mil.

So that was that for that genre of rom-coms.

If somebody makes say, a gangbanger flick that grosses 3 times what it cost to make-we will have more 'banger flicks until the instant they stop making money.

The instant Tyler Perry makes a movie that costs 10mil or over and fails to triple its money back? That will be the last we see of him.

The reason those Nora Ephron-ese movies kept getting made was because they kept making money.

It is the same game for everybody.


Offline Princesa

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2010, 04:15:57 pm »


"Kerry Washington was astonishingly human in  Our Song, so were Jurnee Smollett and Meagan Good in Eve’s Bayou when they were kids a decade ago and superbly contrasted by the adult complexities of Lynn Whitfield and Debbi Morgan, both of whom were nearly magical presences because the film was substantilally broaded by their completely different characters. The same is true of Tasha Smith who is one of the finest talents in Hollywood: she can be lower than a snake in wagon tracks or the actual sweetheart full of sentiment, not sentimentality, that she was in Why Did I Get Married? Nothing seriously good has happened for any of them in artistic terms."






Our Song is one of my all time favorite movies :D You must see it.

Offline Princesa

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2010, 04:18:57 pm »
If anybody knows ugly it's Stanley Grouch.

Watch yourself, Princesa!

Crouch has been known to assault people who have offended him.

That is pretty gangsta for a man who hates that segment of rap music.


Really? He better watch out I got crazy rican and domincans that will cut his ass ;)

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2010, 04:46:46 pm »
If anybody knows ugly it's Stanley Grouch.

Watch yourself, Princesa!

Crouch has been known to assault people who have offended him.

That is pretty gangsta for a man who hates that segment of rap music.


Really? He better watch out I got crazy rican and domincans that will cut his ass ;)


Haahahahahahaha

Offline Emperorjones

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 10:55:27 am »
Guys like Crouch can't have it both ways.

You can't take the racial fairness stance then demand Hollywood make the kind of product you like box office be damned.

Waiting to Exhale cost 15 mil to make but pulled in 65 mil. So that's how How Stella Got Her Groove Back got made.

That cost 20 mil to but into only pulled in 35 mil.

So that was that for that genre of rom-coms.

If somebody makes say, a gangbanger flick that grosses 3 times what it cost to make-we will have more 'banger flicks until the instant they stop making money.

The instant Tyler Perry makes a movie that costs 10mil or over and fails to triple its money back? That will be the last we see of him.

The reason those Nora Ephron-ese movies kept getting made was because they kept making money.

It is the same game for everybody.



I sort of agree, but what about dudes like Woody Allen? How profitable is he? It seems like there are some people who are getting supported, box office success nonwithstanding. Even Spike Lee hasn't been all that commercially successful. Though I think Hollywood won't quite be one and done with Perry after his first flop. They've give him at least one more chance, IMO.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 12:02:12 pm »
I know its highly unlikely given the law of averages and the nature of the movie going public but I don't think Perry will EVER flop.

MADEA is gearing up for a run at Madison Square Garden, I'm sure its already sold out; and they will add 2-3 more weeks due to popular demand.

I am not saying that Perry should walk away from his franchise character or making a criticism about the character as a whole. What I find troubling is that there is no impetus from the Black movie going public for anything different.

When I look at the current state of Black pop-culture I don't think it has ever been more stagnant than it is right now. There have been no substantial changes in music, fashion, or film whatsover!

Black youth in the 80's through hip-hop and their own brand of afrocentrism created a paradigm shift so strong that all aspects of media was forced to respond. In terms of film; Spike Lee is the embodiment of that era from SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT to MACLCOLM X. The movie going public demanded that their new vision be put up on the big screen and they got it.

Today, I can't think of any film in the last 10 -12 years that defines this era. Whether it be the hopes, ambitions, failings etc. of this generation none of it has been presented in a substantive way on film.

So in short, as long as Perry makes his usual mega-church tour and stays in their good graces he will always have a box-office hit.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2010, 12:54:25 pm »
The Book Of Eli is the Hughes Bros. first film since From Hell. Matty Rich hasn't made a movie since The Inkwell. Reg was running BET. Belly was a flop. John Singleton is making films like Four Brothers now.

That pretty much leaves Spike and Perry.

For the game to get new players with fresh visions its gonna come down to guys like Voodoo and Redjack one one hand (as DV becomes more inexpensive it may be possible to produce professional looking films cheaply) and guys like Mos Def, Common or Jay-Z deciding they want to direct on the other.

Youtube might be the precusor of a viable way to distribute "garage" films without studio involvement.

Guys like Jay-Z could probably start their own studio if they felt like it.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: IN HOLLYWOOD, GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. OR BEAUTIFUL by Stanley Crouch
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2010, 01:59:21 pm »
The Book Of Eli is the Hughes Bros. first film since From Hell. Matty Rich hasn't made a movie since The Inkwell. Reg was running BET. Belly was a flop. John Singleton is making films like Four Brothers now.

That pretty much leaves Spike and Perry.

For the game to get new players with fresh visions its gonna come down to guys like Voodoo and Redjack one one hand (as DV becomes more inexpensive it may be possible to produce professional looking films cheaply) and guys like Mos Def, Common or Jay-Z deciding they want to direct on the other.

Youtube might be the precusor of a viable way to distribute "garage" films without studio involvement.

Guys like Jay-Z could probably start their own studio if they felt like it.


I don't think Common, Mos Def or Jay-Z can provide the change as their demographic isn't pushing for it.

When I'm around teens or people in their early 20's I don't get the sense that they are fed up with what they are being given. In the same vein; I don't think any of the aforementioned artists are seeking to push the envelope either.

I'm waiting for the Souljah Boy era to actually do something.