Sistah’s In Hollywood

As for those grapefruit and buttermilk diets, I’ll take roast chicken and dumplings

-Hattie McDaniels

Being in the limelight in Hollywood is the most amazing experience for a lot of people. It’s like sitting on cloud nine. There are many who excel in the tough world of Hollywood. For others, it literally becomes the death of them. All that fame and notoriety comes with a price. Watching your favorite actor or actress play a character in a movie looks pretty easy. It looks so easy, for some, it’s inspiring. What they don’t tell you is all of the rejection they face before they actually make it to the big screen. Making it big in Hollywood is not all glitter’s and glam. Some people face so much rejection that it kills them, literally. There’s all kind of reasons for rejection behind the big screen. Whether you’re too skinny, too fat, too dark, or just plain unwanted, rejection is a hard fact of life in Hollywood, especially for people of color.

During slavery and segregation, people of color starring in films were almost unheard of. Whether you were male of female, if you weren’t white, playing on the big screen was pretty much out of the question. Every now and then you may see a man or woman of color on the big screen, but their roles were very minuscule. They were either an extra or played roles such as a kitchen worker, maid, or a gardener. Their roles were never long enough to get public notoriety. As we all know, with hard work comes great success, and that’s just what Hattie McDaniel set out to prove. The first African-American woman to win an Oscar for her role in ‘Gone With the Wind.’

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McDaniel was born in 1893 in Wichita, Kansas. She was one of 13 children from her father who was a minister and her mother who was a domestic worker. From an early age, she tapped into her flair of singing, performing in her church and signing various bouts around the house. In 1909, after professionally mastering her skill of singing and dancing, she dropped out of high school and pursued a full-fledged career with her brothers. They became known as the Mighty Minstrels. She married the pianist in the group and branched out to start her own all women’s minstrel group. By the 1920’s McDaniel had made a name for herself. She was touring all over and was invited to be on Denver’s KOA radio show. She became the first African-American woman in radio.

After struggling to make ends meet doing radio, she was convinced by her brother and sister to move to Los Angeles where her career as an actress began. Before landing any major movie or screen roles, she started out on her brother’s radio show KNX and became a hit. She was dubbed ‘Hi-Hat Hattie.’ It wasn’t until 1932, that she landed her first screen role as a maid in The Golden West. This would be the start of a long, yet rewarding career in television. As I stated earlier, women and men of color were not in high demand back in the 1930’s for Hollywood roles, so she still had to take up odd jobs here and there just to make ends meet. That didn’t stop her, she continued to push through until she landed another role performing a duet with Will Rogers in 1934’s  Judge Priest. McDaniel was finally making headway. She worked with other big names such as Shirley Temple, Lionel Barrymore, and Irene Dunne.

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By this time, McDaniel was making history for all the African-American women around the world who aspired to be on film. She was becoming a hot commodity in the Hollywood community. Everyone loved her, and her voice was phenomenal. She was pursued by many, but it wasn’t until 1939 that her life changed forever. She was cast as Mammy, the house servant of Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivian Leigh) in the movie Gone with the Wind. How awesome is it to have your face all over Hollywood as one of the most successful African-American women ever to grace the television set. Pretty awesome, right? Now imagine not being able to see your own movie. That’s just what happen to McDaniel. When it was time for the movie to premier in theaters, she was barred from seeing her own movie. She along with several other African-American’s were barred from seeing the movie. Keep in mind it’s still the 1930s so segregation and Jim Crow laws were in full effect. It wouldn’t be until the following year that she’d get the recognition she’d work so hard for.

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In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American woman to win an Oscar. Pretty awesome, right. Well, remember earlier in the article when I said that all that glitter’s and glam came with a price? As her career started to flourish, McDaniel received harsh criticism from the troops and members of the post-war community for the roles she was playing. Playing roles of servants and slaves did not sit too well with many in the black community. They believed it portrayed people of color in a negative light and was way too stereotypical. The president of the NAACP (National Association Advancement for Colored People) pleaded with Hollywood filmmakers to create more realistic roles for people of color. They believed that creating roles that were more than just slaves and servants, showed the true intellect and education of people of color. McDaniel was not swayed by such backlash. She defended her roles and suggested that playing the role of  Mammy did just that. In fact, she had a valid point. It proved that she was more than a slave or a servant. She was a movie star. Just because she played such roles didn’t make her that in real life. She surpassed all obstacles and people that became a roadblock to her success.

I did my best, and God did the rest

-Hattie McDaniel

As the fight to stop such roles began to progress, McDaniel’s appearance on the big screen was starting to diminish. People in the black community were urging filmmakers to do away with such roles. As the roles became less and less popular, McDaniel returned to radio. Seven years after winning an Oscar, she landed a role on CBS radio as another maid. She convinced the NAACP to let her use her talents to break racial stereotypes and be more than what she said they were. It wouldn’t be until 1951, that she’d be seen on television again. She brought her radio character to life on the big screen. Unfortunately, she suffered a heart attack and her acting role was short lived. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer and succumbed to the disease in 1952.

The life and career of Hattie McDaniel paved the way for many men and women of color, especially women. Women were always regarded to as property, so we were forced to prove our worth in the industry. Women were laughed at and shunned away as we were thought to be housemaids, nothing more nothing less. Women of color, on the other hand, weren’t even recognized as human. McDaniel broke the barriers down for all of that. She proved that women of color can be more than just servants and slaves. We can be whomever or whatever we put our minds to. With hard work, anything is possible. She received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1975 was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

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Before It Even Get’s Started: Intro to Black History Month

The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are

-Maya Angelou

We are one week away from the beginning of Black History month. This is a month dedicated to acknowledging the African-Americans who have made an impact on America as a whole. This a time to gain knowledge and really learn where we come from. Being an African-American woman, it is very important for me to learn my heritage. It is imperative that I know and understand the sacrifices that those before me made. It is really imperative that I understand the significance of Black History Month and be able to share my knowledge with others. With that being said, I’ll introduce you to a little history of the meaning of the true reason for Black History Month.

So while we know on the surface that February is Black History Month, do we really know why this month was chosen? Well, Black History wasn’t always celebrated for the whole month. You see, back in 1926, Carter G Woodson created Black History week, which was dedicated to celebrating the achievements of many African Americans and their impact on the United States. That week also happened to be right around the time President Abraham Lincoln celebrated his birthday, which was in, you guessed it, February. The other well-known names in Black History who celebrated their birthday’s in February include Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass. It was decided that black history week would take place on the second week in February since President Lincoln’s birthday was the 12th of the month and Mr. Douglass’ birthday was the 14th.

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When Mr. Woodson created Black History week, this gave blacks a platform to rise from. Mr. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History put heavy pressure on the Department of Education to teach Black History to students in school. Of course, this was met with a mediocre response and was accepted by only four states. The four states include North Caroline, Baltimore, West Virginia, and Washington, DC. In the coming weeks, Black History week would spark a major change in the education system and teachers worldwide. Leaders from organizations all over learned about these teachings. Churches and schools starting printing literature for black history week and incorporating it into their teachings. With it’s progressive interests, mayors across the United States were considering endorsing black history week as a holiday. Talk about really making an impact on American History. Imagine having a holiday that consisted of a whole week. That would be pretty awesome!

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With such an enthusiastic response from the press and progressive whites, this pushed students at Kent University to propose that Black History week be celebrated the whole month of February. In 1969, Black United Students at Kent University proposed this idea, and the first celebration of Black History month took place in 1970 at Kent University. In 1976, President Ford recognized the expansion of Black History week to Black History Month. He stated “I urge Americans to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Black History Month has been celebrated for many decades, and it’s concept has been widely adopted. The United Kingdom celebrated Black History Month in 1987 followed by Canada in 1995. The teaching of Black History in February was one of the most important movements in Black History period. This paved the way for many others to pay homage to those whose accomplishments changed and continue to change the way America operates.

In recent years, there has been some harsh criticism about why Black History was crammed into one month. As I stated earlier, this month was chosen to coincide with President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’ birthday. That’s not to say that blacks or African-Americans aren’t making history every day. This concept was chosen so that everyone could gain awareness and knowledge of unrecognized accomplishments by black people and it could be brought to the forefront.

 

Warning before the Storm

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Ever find yourself in situations that seem almost impossible to get out of? You start to ask yourself how did you wind up here? I’ll tell you why; it’s because you didn’t pay attention to the warning signs before destruction befell you. One thing I learned in life, is there are always warning signs. Whether we choose to pay attention to them or not, they are always there.

Think of it like this, we all hear the news at some point through out the day. Whether it’s on television, or listening via radio, we all hear the news. When a hurricane, tornado, tsunami, or whatever is about to occur, they come on the television or radio with warning message. They are trying to prepare everyone for the storm, or at least make sure you are ready. Well, in life it’s sort of the same thing. The only difference is we don’t have a radio or television to tell us when the storm is coming. You have to pay attention the small things. Like for instance those having relationship problems and I’m not just talking about marriage, or boyfriend and girlfriend. I’m talking about any relationship; family, friends, work, church, neighbors, whatever the case maybe. There is always a warning sign. If you are having problems with your children, pay attention to them watch them, listen to them. Children usually have an indirect way of showing that there is something wrong. If they are suddenly lashing out at you, or isolating themselves from the rest of the family. Brushing this off as just a phase may be a fatal mistake. I hear to often that parents say, they wished they had paid attention to the signs this would have never happened.

Let’s take for instance Dylann Roof, the boy who shot up the church in Charleston, SC back in June of 2015. He sat through that church service before executing just about everyone in there. His mom came on television a few months back to address her son’s mental condition. Her exact words were and I quote, “I noticed a change in him. He became withdrawn. He spent more and more time in his room on the computer with the door locked. He started to isolate himself from his friends. He stopped going outside and hanging out. If I had just paid attention to the signs, this could have been prevented.” This is prime example of warning before destruction. She neglected to pay attention to her son’s sudden behavioral change. Him shooting up that church could have been prevented if she had gotten him the help he needed. I know a lot of people don’t believe that anything was wrong with him mentally, and I don’t either. But, that doesn’t negate the fact that his mother believed she could have “saved” him and the people of that church. This is what I mean by not paying attention to the warning signs.

Even if we talk about Omar Mateen who shot up the Orlando nightclub. His ex-wife was with him when he purchased the guns and ammo used in the shooting that night. She ignored the warning sign and he gave her a clear one. She knew of his hatred and rage towards the LGBT community and she ignored it. Prime example of not paying attention to the warning signs. She claims she tried to stop it, but she didn’t put forth enough effort, because enough effort would have been to stop him from even purchasing the gun. The government didn’t pay attention to the warning signs, because he was allowed to purchase a fire arm despite him being on the FBI watch list.

 

These are signs right in front of our face and yet we still turn the other way. Thingking nothing will come of it, or he/she isn’t serious about what they are planning. If we keep having this mentality then more and more tragedies such as these will keep happening. In life there are no television news cast or radio warning signs to alert us when a storm is coming. We just have to be vigilant of our own actions. Acting surprised when the lights get cut off, or when they foreclose on the house, or reposses the car, is faining ignorance. All of the late letters, final notices stamped to the door, or received in the mail and all you did was brush them to the side or tossed them away is clearly ignorning signs that trouble is coming. It is important to keep your eyes open and clear to be able to notice destruction coming a mile away. This way you have a better chance of fighting it off.

 

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Sometimes God puts us through things because we live our lives and forget that he has control. In order for us to be reminded of this, he puts us through trials and tribulations. He makes us seek him for help and guidance and once we do, he always puts us back on the right track. Even if it takes a little while, he will eventually put you back on the right path, his path. The storm you put yourself in can last as long as you want it. The more you stray away from God, the longer your storm. The faster you start to seek him for answers and advice, the quicker you will weather the storm. They don’t last always. They are temporary.Storm

This was written in response to today’s prompt

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/storm/  #completepositiveenergy

Quote of the Day….

For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known or come to light

-Luke 8:17

There are a great deal of people who believe that things kept in secret will never come out. There are a lot of people who truly believe that what someone doesn’t know won’t hurt them. I have news for those people. Secrets do come out, and what a person doesn’t know does hurt. It may not hurt them at that very moment, because they are thinking that nothing is going on and everything is alright. A lot of people do things that they shouldn’t do just for the thrill. You know it’s wrong to commit adultery, yet the thrill of doing it gives you a rush. It’s the fact of doing something in secret gives you a false sense of security. You know it’s wrong to lie, yet the fact that you think no one will ever question it provokes you to do it. You feel if you sit down and think a of a good lie, this will somehow bide you some time. Everything secret is a thrill ride, until it all come to light. Your spouse is hurt that you would betray him/her and go outside of your marriage. They begin to question what they did wrong that prompted you to go outside your marriage to seek something from someone else. When all the lies unfold, the web untangles. The questions begin to come. Believing that if you cover your tracks carefully, you can’t possibly get caught. Wrong! Whether you know it or not, there is always someone watching. Doing wrong in the presence of the Lord will warrant things to happen. Sometimes a warning sign before destruction, or to bring forth the life you tried so desperately to conceal. Living your life in secret, causes too much stress on the body. You are always anxious. Looking over your shoulder every where you go. Your adrenaline pumps and your heart starts to race if you even feel you’ve gotten caught. You start to sweat profusely when being questioned. You may even get mad or angry. Frustrated at the life you are living openly and the life you have to keep a secret. You loose sleep at night as your mind is always wondering. Your conscious speaks to you on your down time, so you never really have down time. You isolate yourself from friends, because you don’t want them snooping around or asking questions. You may even turn your back on family as they try to pry into your sudden change of actions. All of these are emotions that your body feels when trying to live in the dark. This what your spouse, or family may feel. All of these things are a domino effect. Ask yourself, is it worth it? Is it worth me risking my health, peace of mind, and sanity to fulfill a fantasy? Is it worth to lie, just to bide time? Is it worth it?

So if you ever run into someone who you know is not living right or being dishonest, you tell them just remember whatever is done in the dark, will manifest and be brought to light. This a powerful scripture I live by every day.

#completepositiveenergy  #everydayinspiration

The Butterfly Effect

Using your passion to unleash your soul is what I call the butterfly effect. Feel the energy from the things you do and love the welcoming they embrace. We all start out as caterpillars. We crawl along the surface searching for our inner passions. We hunt for food to fuel the burning desire. We rest for days on end to revive that energy. And just when you feel like all else has fail, something awakens that burning desire and ignites that fire and you emerge as a butterfly. Wings ready to soar. Colorful and vibrant so you radiate. My post are like the butterfly effect. Emerging from the cocoon ready to ignite that spark.

 

Food for thought, written by me.