February 2012

5 Things: The Help

by dre of onustees.com on 28 February 2012

The Help – aka Sisters Keepin’ It Real in 63

After flipping between the Academy awards and the All-Star game Sunday evening… I figured it was time to see what the commotion was surrounding the movie about Black maids in Jackson, Mississippi… These are 5 things I learned from the film…

  1. Was this Forrest Gump for Black Maids??? Before any misinterpretation of my thought occurs…  I am not suggesting that any of the characters suffered from any mental retardation… Clear? Good… The movie opens in with the voice-over narration akin to Forrest and historically events that are woven into the film also lends to that Gumpish feel… Each time Aibileen (Viola Davis character) narrated a scene I cringed slightly awaiting Tom Hanks to interject in the slow-witted manner from his film… the pace of the movie reminded me of Gump, as did the ending with the panning out of the southern setting and Aibileen’s stroll up the road…
  2. Viola Davis did a great job… but Octavia Spencer certainly stole the show… I could harp on the fact they both were doing a GREAT job in roles we’re accustomed to seeing on the big screen for Blacks… I’ll leave that out and give credit where it’s due… Each time Octavia’s character “Minny” appeared the anticipation was ramped up to see where the scene was going… Her delivery of the “insurance policy” was delicious… as for Viola… she was nice but she was even better as the snot-running mom in Doubt… for that she should have won an Oscar… I’ll check out The Iron Lady soon to see if Meryl Streep truly kicked ass as Margaret Thatcher…
  3. White actors / actresses do a damn good job playing bigots… Perhaps even too good of a job… In most of these “racial” flicks… there’s always 1 or 2 actors that just go, to use a term from Tropic Thunder, “Full Retard”… And going “full” is a GREAT thing for an actor… Denzel went all out as Malcolm… Jamie in Ray… Even Robert Downey as the brother in Tropic Thunder… But at no point did I really believe Viola Davis was a woman under throes of segregation in REAL life, no hate at all… However, Bryce Dallas Howard did an awfully good job as the racist-ass nemesis in the film… so, good that at times I truly felt she believed in her nature that Blacks shouldn’t take shits on the same toilets as Whites…  Her execution as the character “Hilly Holbrooke” has unfortunately lumped her forever in the “oh, here come that heifer from The Help” category… she could be doing a musical on children rights in Uganda playing the protagonist who’s also cured AIDS and defeated hunger and I’d still look at the screen and think… “I know her from somewhere… oh yeah! THAT’S THAT EVIL ASS HEIFER FROM THE HELP!!!” …so, congrats to the daughter of Ron Howard… Good job!!! (Right?)
  4. Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote… Alright, alright, alriiiiiiiiight…
  5. Why did Minny’s husband have to go all… “You tole Harpo to beat me!” I’m not saying that domestic violence didn’t exist… but was it necessary for it to be in the film? I mean… the only redeeming brothers in flick was the pastor (who made up for his Red Tails contribution…) and the brother who worked as a waiter then sqaundered all credibility by bouncing on Aibileen after Medgar Evers was assassinated… The only good* part of the domestic violence they didn’t even show… I really wanted to see Minny go upside her husband’s head with a skillet at the suggestion of Celia… but without that… there wasn’t a need for the Chris Brown aspect… the antagonizing Whites were enough… plus, I don’t think any woman who’d shit in a pie… and serve it to a white woman and tell her to her face in 1963… would take any shit from a black man in 1963…
  6. Bonus # 1: For a woman who writes and speaks well in EVERY OTHER SCENE why did Aibileen have to speak in broken English to a damn 3 year old… “Youse kind, youse smart, youse important.” Really??? Come on, white people… She’s Obama in most of the scenes… but Jar Jar Binks in that one?
  7. Bonus # 2: Cicely Tyson, bless her heart, is forever old… In my brief time on this earth… I’ve only known her to play one role… that’s “lady old Black”… The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman was in 1974… and 38 years later she played this EXACT SAME WOMAN??? …truly, “forever old… I wanna be forever old…” …then in the same film, The Help, did a flashback scene and looked 50 years old… the woman is 78… Black don’t crack.
  8. Bonus # 3: I know both Blacks & Whites love fried chicken… but damn… you’d think it was DC Crack in the 80’s the way they were hankering for it… Ok… good fried chicken IS like DC Crack in the 80’s… my bad.


Day 28 – Can’t have a “Movement” mixtape without Sam’s finest…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs]

Artist: Sam Cooke / Song: A Change Is Gonna Come / Album: Ain’t That Good News / Year: 1964


Day 27 – It’s what we need… it’s what we want…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GnlKTI6yL4]

Artist: The O’Jays / Song: When the World’s at Peace / Album: Back Stabbers / Year: 1972


Day 26 – Ok, so technically… this isn’t a “movement” song… but the groove and title belongs… “Ain’t no half steppin’, no, no, noooo…”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iamh8e2OkrU]

Artist: Heatwave / Song: Ain’t No Half Steppin / Album: Too Hot Too Handle / Year: 1976


Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Track 25 – Curtis Mayfield “Move On Up”

28 February 2012

Day 25 – Only way to go is Up… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JJlG6-AFAM] Artist: Curtis Mayfield / Song: Move On Up / Album: Curtis / Year: 1970

Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Track 24 – James Brown “Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud”

24 February 2012

Day 24 – Simply put… “Say It Loud”… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23eosgpDib0] Artist: James Brown / Song: Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud / Album: Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud / Year: 1968

Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Track 23 – Billy Paul “Am I Black Enough For You”

23 February 2012

Day 23 – So much more than a one-hit wonder… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaaY3slVuus] Artist: Billy Paul / Song: Am I Black Enough For You / Album: 360 Degrees of Billy Paul / Year: 1972

Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Track 22 – Gil Scott-Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

22 February 2012

Day 22 – “The revolution is here…” [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6OASOH_66A] Artist: Gil Scott-Heron / Song: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised / Album: Small Talk At 125th And Lenox / Year: 1970

Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Tracks 18 through 21…

22 February 2012

Track 18… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oab4ZCfTbOI] Artist: The Staple Singers / Song: Respect Yourself / Album: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself / Year: 1972 Track 19… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMrl8SWWH3g] Artist: Sly Stone / Song: Stand! / Album: Stand! / Year: 1969 Track 20… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEMyha47FzY] Artist: James Brown / Song: Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Parts 1 & […]

Do Better Mixtape, Songs for the Movement!: Track 17 – The Isley Brothers “Harvest For The World”

17 February 2012

Day 17 – The Isleys… arguably one of the best bands of all-time… more on that later… [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3Ie-opPVo] Artist: The Isley Brothers / Song: Harvest For The World / Album: Harvest For The World / Year: 1976