I only recently started following Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook fan page, and apparently, I’ve been missing out, because, unlike some other celeb fan pages, she’s actually directly involved in the content that’s posted on the site, and even seems to be doing the postings herself at times.
And she’s been using the page (with it’s 3+ million fans) as an online space to question, inspire, and challenge her readers, often penning odes to a variety of issues, like, most recently, bullying and teen celebs, to, a couple of days ago, the below piece on women’s magazine covers and race, which stirred up LOTS of conversation on the web, as several sites picked it up.
And while not necessarily a film-related matter, I think what Jada questions is rooted in a much larger social issue that does affect the representation of our (black) images in the media – film, TV, print, web, etc. Essentially, the point being that, even though her questions are specific to her gender and magazines, the answers to those questions are pretty much the same answers to many of the questions we debate on this site weekly – for example, matters of equality in terms of the diversity in our images, transcending race, as well as whether this country is anywhere close to being the so-called “post-racial” society that some proclaimed it to be after Barack Obama won his first term as President, and that the playing field has indeed been leveled, etc.
From my POV, she’s essentially challenging the very reason why black institutions, or we could say black versions of mainstream institutions, exist. For example, this very blog which focuses strictly on black cinema. To rephrase her questions in relation to this blog, one could ask, since we (black people) lament the fact that mainstream (or *white*) film websites don’t cover black cinema as comprehensively as well as we want them to, should black cinema sites not offer the same consideration to *white* films, and sites like S&A should also start covering non-black cinema?
Again, this speaks to whether this country has finally reached that post-racial moment when we do see each other beyond skin color. Of course, from where I’m standing, the answer is, no, we’re not quite there yet. Far from it, actually!
But here’s Jada’s post from Monday which has the black blogosphere especially in a bit of a tizzy. I was initially going to ignore it, but it’s almost everywhere it seems, and a few of you emailed it to me, so I guess it’s something that folks want to talk about, so I’m sharing, along with my own thoughts, in relation to cinema and this blog.
Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section:
Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?
There is a question I want to ask today. I’m asking this question in the spirit of thinking outside of the box in order to open doors to new possibilities. These possibilities may be realistic or unrealistic. I also want to make it clear that there is no finger pointing here. I pose this question with the hope that it opens a discussion about how we can build a community for women based upon us all taking a deeper interest in one another. An interest where skin color, culture, and social class does not create barriers in sharing the commonality of being… women. With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this…if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us? I don’t know the answer and would love to hear your thoughts.