PROPS TO MISS HATTIE!
*As she accepted her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “Precious,” Mo’Nique paid tribute to the first African-American Oscar winner, Hattie McDaniel, who was honored as Best Supporting Actress Oscar of 1939 for her role as Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.”
Mo’Nique’s blue dress and the gardenia that adorned her hair were nods to the style that Miss McDaniel rocked on her Oscar night. More importantly, Mo’Nique thanked McDaniel for enduring the insults and restrictions segregation and discrimination so that we would not have to.
Hattie McDaniel was excluded from the festivities when “Gone With the Wind” had its lavish premier in Atlanta, Georgia. And, on Academy Awards night, she wasn’t permitted to sit with rest of “Gone With the Wind” cast and crew! But, like so many of our people in those days, Hattie McDaniel bore it all with grace. And her Oscar acceptance speech – was pure class!
Hattie McDaniel’s 1939 Oscar Acceptance Speech:
“Gone With the Wind” is a racist movie – it glorifies the Antebellum South and makes black people look like fools who were happy to live in slavery. However, Hattie McDaniel is the one black performer in “Gone With the Wind” who has always made me proud. Because of her depth of talent, Hattie McDaniel took a role that could have easily been reduced to caricature and molded a multifaceted, true to life character. Moreover, Miss McDaniel’s performance – which ranges from comedy to drama to pathos – is one of the best, most versatile performances in “Gone With the Wind.” We bristle at Mammy’s loyalty to Scarlett O’Hara, but we know that women like her existed in history. And Hattie McDaniel brings this character forth with honesty, dimension and – within the confines of the story and era dramatized – a sense of dignity which deserves our acknowledgment.
Cameron’s Two Cents:
…ALL “PRECIOUS” IN HIS SIGHT
Mo’Nique concluded her Academy Awards acceptance speech by saying, “God bless us all.” Very appropriate words because the triumph of “Precious” should be an inspiration to everyone! I was moved by screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher who fought back tears as he clutched his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and dedicated his win to “anyone who has ever had a dream.” For nearly 10 years, Fletcher had little more than dreams as he toiled at temp jobs and wrote stacks of unproduced scripts. He paid some difficult dues despite having degrees from Harvard and NYU!
“Precious” – first the book “Push,” then the film and now the Oscars and all the other richly-deserved awards – are reminders that no matter what anyone says about you, no matter what anyone does to you, you are a unique, magnificent and “precious” individual and you can turn your dreams into reality! The words of the 139 Psalm are true: we are, all of us, “fearfully and wonderfully made!” Abundant life is our birthright!
As “Desiderata” so eloquently states: “You are a child of the universe! No less than the trees and the stars! You have a right to be here!” So… “(Even) will all of its sham, drudgery and broken dreams this is still a beautiful world!”
As the children’s Sunday School song says, “we’re all “Precious” in his sight!”
Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.
THINK! IT AIN’T ILLEGAL…YET!
Read more “Turner’s Two Cents” on www.UrbanBeautyCollective.com, www.UrbanThoughtCollective.com and www.PasadenaJournal.com. In Los Angeles, watch for Cameron Turner on on “The Filter with Fred Roggin,” weekly on KNBC Channel 4 and digital cable NBC+.