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I finally went to see “THE HELP” night before last and I was mesmerized. I left feeling altered, moved by the brilliant story, the brilliant acting and the scary fact that this was a story about life in the south only 40 years ago!
A good friend of mine used to tell me stories about her mom being a maid in the 1950’s and 60’s south and how her mother and her escaped to the north for fear of their lives. I have head that the migration of black Americans from the south to the north was a huge one, (over a million someone told me last night) and it’s easy to see why, not that there wasn’t prejudice in the north too, of course, but not like this!
I remember as a child traveling with my family from Jersey to Florida and sometimes across from Florida to California. In the deep south in the 70’s, it was best not to let anyone know we were Jewish. I recall a gas station that had signs above one of its restrooms with one word “colored.” Oh the sign had been removed of course but the fact that the wall had been painted with the sign on, left the non-painted imprint of the word. The message was, its illegal not to have this sign up,but we want to make damn sure you all see the imprint anyway. It imprinted on me all right. I was just relieved not to see another imprint that read “JEWS.”
I am thrilled that the HELP and its brilliant actresses, Viola Davis who is something of a goddess and the amazing Octavia Spencer. have been raking in the awards. These are two women Hollywood would not normally see fit to give starring roles too, because they don’t fit the normal Hollywood leading lady look or age or color, (some prejudices are still alive and well hmmm).
In a sea of big stars who are great but really honey don’t need any more recognition, it was wonderful to see two not-so-known actresses get up there on the podium and keep it real for all of us.
I think their SAG award acceptance speeches last night, humbled everyone in the audience, especially that of Viola Davis.
I hope Hollywood, doesn’t forget that audiences like to see real women, not just young women or pretty women or white women.
Fighting racism is an un-going battle and The Help Helps.