Before I start, full disclosure: I have neither read The Help, nor watched its film adaptation. I'm not interested in a made up story presenting a whitewashed version of American racial politics, nope.
So, I had mixed feelings when Octavia Spencer won an Academy Award for her role in the film this past weekend. She played Minny Jackson, a maid frequently described as "feisty" "sassy" "outspoken"...YAWN...I think you can guess where this is going.
Spencer won best supporting actress. If we look at previous Black winners in this category there is:
Mo'Nique for Precious
J-Hud for Dreamgirls
Whoopi for Ghost
Rita Moreno for West Side Story
Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind.
All good (well mainly) performances. All either portraying someone whose profession is to entertain, or someone poor and disenfranchised. Halle Berry is famously the only Black woman to win Best Actress and a quick scan of Wikipedia doesn't show any women of Asian descent as recipients or nominees in either category...although I'm hoping I've got that wrong. But, hey! We shouldn't be so negative, after all, it was a Black woman getting an Oscar. That's something to be celebrated, right? RIGHT?