Oh No They Didn’t?!

Check the lack of color....

Although the title of this article is not an expression I would typically use, it is most appropriate for the story that I am about to tell. Like many Stanford students, I love using the Internet as my choice of procrastination. One of my favorite websites is theybf.com or The Young Black and Fabulous (YBF), which follows the lives of all the biggest, baddest, and blackest celebrities around. It was not too too long ago when this particular site ran a story about the controversy surrounding the Young Hollywood 2010 issue of Vanity Fair magazine. When I originally looked at the picture from the Vanity Fair spread, I must admit that I was not offended by the lack of color depicted on the page. As an artist, I found the porcelain-skinned petite girls to be aesthetically pleasing, and did not immediately understand the uproar being exhibited in the readers’ comments on the site. Sure, one could argue that what I perceive to be beautiful has been traumatically shaped by the sometimes racist-Photoshopped images in the media. Nonetheless, I thought the picture was pretty and that overall the spread was well done. Yet, the creator of YBF raised a very valid point. If Vanity Fair is displaying the next generation of Hollywood starlets, then where are the black girls? They have to exist. Right?

Wrong. Even the creator of YBF could not come up with suitable black starlets to hypothetically add to the spread, suggesting Zoe Saldana, who’s been around for a minute, and Gabourney Sidibe, although beautiful and talented, will most likely be ignored by Hollywood executives after “Precious” has made its way to DVD.  However, it is not the YBF creator’s suggestions that bother me, but the fact that when I attempt to think of black actresses, who could have potentially been featured in Vanity Fair, the only person I can think of is Keke Palmer. One could have the audacity to argue that Megan Good and Lauren London would make decent candidates for Vanity Fair, but that argument would have to be based purely off looks. Let’s face it. Megan Good has remained on the C list for a reason, and like Zoe is pushing thirty. As for Lauren London, her baby mama status with Lil Wayne is not exactly drawing positive attention to her already C list-destined career.

If you search “Young Black Actresses” in Google, the top results include Vivica A. Fox, Angela Bassett, and Halle Berry. Although these women have had successful careers in their own rights, they are not “young,” especially by Hollywood’s standards. It is disheartening when Google, the search engine that can literally find almost anything in the world, cannot produce a list of young black actresses. Making matters worse is that this year marks the 100th anniversary of black actors in cinema.

Though we should be proud of what our race has accomplished in its century long run in Hollywood (i.e. Sidney Poitier, Diane Carroll, Tyler Perry, etc.), we cannot ignore the problems surrounding our race in the industry. The fact remains that black people, especially black actresses, are underrepresented in the entire entertainment industry. In order to change it, the future black Hollywood moguls, like me, are going to have to strategically find and hire young talented black actresses for major roles. Somewhere in this country there are chocolate versions of Amanda Seyfried and Kristen Stewart just waiting to be given an opportunity to showcase their skill. Once these more legitimate black actresses are excluded from Vanity Fair, then we as a people can catch attitude with the magazine. But, for now, “Oh No They Didn’t?!” must only apply to the people preventing our girls from getting the roles that would make them eligible for Vanity Fair in the first place.

-Bina

About binabona
Hello! My name's Bina. I tried the whole blogging game a while back when I wanted to do film reviews, but now I realize that blogging can be so much more than that. I love giving an opinion, and discovering new things to write about. I hope that people enjoy reading the topics that I write about. That's all I really want. :-)

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