THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Angelina Jolie Is Not A "Person Of Color" - The NAACP Image Awards Strike Again!

I stopped taking the NAACP Image Awards seriously a long time ago - must have been when they gave the best actress award to Halle Berry in 2002 for her performance in SWORDFISH - you know, the film in which she bared her “mammaries” for some Caucasoid male - no, not the film which she won an Oscar for... the other one before it, which seemingly began a trend for Ms Berry. (NOTE: I have no qualms about black women baring their “mammaries” for Caucasoid men, as long as they do so willingly and doing so pleases them. I just can’t help but pay attention whenever I see it happen on screen. My reasons are many and varied, but mostly historically-based, as is often the case with anything in which race is a factor in this country).

Anyway... back to the NAACP Image Awards.

As I was saying, I stopped taking the NAACP Image Awards seriously a long time ago - or maybe it was after Queen Latifah won the gold for her "riveting" performance in BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE in 2004, beating out the aforementioned Halle Berry (nominated for GOTHIKA), Beyonce Knowles (nominated for THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIIONS) and the lovely Gabrielle Union (nominated for her daring performance in the masterpiece that was DELIVER US FROM EVA).

Yes folks, it's hard out there, not only for pimps, but for black actresses as well (the 21st century's endangered species it would seem). So, maybe it's not entirely fair for me to dismiss the NAACP, considering the dearth of worthwhile performances by black talent (in this case, black actresses) in this country, and I should instead harass the performers for their inability to generate stronger platforms on which to showcase their skills.

I'm sure I could go up and down the ladder, looking for the "right" prong on which to hang the blame, but I won't.

Anyway... once again, back to the NAACP Image Awards.

As I was saying, I stopped taking the NAACP Image Awards seriously a long time ago. However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the little bit of news I read this morning - the NAACP's list of nominees for its 2007 Image Awards (specifically, the list of performances of 2007 that the organization considers deserving). As I scrolled down the list, I chuckled quite a few times for various reasons, until I got to the list of best actress nominees to find Angelina Jolie's name listed in the first slot, for her performance in A MIGHTY HEART.

Ok.

Now, per its own press releases, the NAACP Image Awards is "an award presented annually by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor outstanding people of color in film, television, music, and literature." Notice I bolded the words "people of color." Last I checked, Angelina Jolie isn't self-identified as a "person of color." She may have adopted a few "colored" babies, but a "person of color" she is not - at least not within the confines of the widely accepted contemporary definition of the phrase. Her mother (who died last year) was French-Canadian and her father is of German and Slovakian ancestry.


I'm not a lover of labels, as I find them limiting and destructive, and I've read many an essay on the potential varying interpretations of the phrase (people of color); but again, in its most commonly used and accepted form, likely the NAACP's meaning in its use of the phrase, I think we can all agree that Angelina Jolie is NOT a "person of color."

I realize that Ms Jolie donned a little "black face" make-up to portray a real-life "person of color" in A MIGHTY HEART - at least, a person that our wonderful American government would classify as such, given her Dutch-Jewish/Afro-Latino-Cuban ancestry; although I don't know what box Mariane Pearl puts herself in, if any box at all. And maybe she doesn't have to; Maybe none of us should have to, right?

Alas, we don't reside in an utopian world, so we are forced to take part in these unfortunate little identity dances.

Regardless... or "irregardless" as I've heard some say... Angelina Jolie should NOT be nominated for an NAACP Image Award, in my not-so humble opinion, and I'm not quite sure what the NAACP's reasoning is for including her on their list. What would be even more discombobulating is if Ms Jolie won the NAACP award for best actress. Oddly enough, I already expect that to come to fruition when the awards are handed out on February 14th.

Worth mentioning are her fellow nominees in the same category: Halle Berry – THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE, Jill Scott – TYLER PERRRY'S WHY DID I GET MARRIED, Jurnee Smollett – THE GREAT DEBATERS, and Taraji P. Henson – TALK TO ME.

Anyway, as I started out saying... I stopped taking the NAACP Image Awards seriously a long time ago - actually maybe it happened after they gave their best picture award to LETHAL WEAPON in 1989... hmmm... yeah, maybe that was it!

TAO

2 comments:

  1. theblackactor.com said...
     

    I don't tune into those awards and others similar to them because they reward mediocrity.

  2. aulelia said...
     

    This is an absolute scandal!!

    We don't have a high-profile black british award like NAACP but i am sure people would have their eyebrows raised if jolie got a nom.

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