What’s the deal with Whoopi Goldberg? Sometimes she’s O.K., but then again she’ll say some of the weirdest, “what the-hell-is-she-talking–about”
O.K. I get it. That’s her shtick. She’s not one of your ordinary, run of
the mill black people; That she’s “different” or goes out of her
way to make you think that she is. She follows her own rules. Dances to the
beat of a different drummer. You go right,
she goes left.
Now, most of time, that’s a great thing. But then sometimes, or
at least, in her case, her efforts to be unlike most people, makes her say and do
things that are hard to explain. (And I still haven’t forgotten that infamous Ted Danson/blackface bit she wrote and performed with him).
Now take for instance her recent comments made during an interview for
BET about actress Viola Davis, and her Emmy speech on the lack of opportunities
for black actresses, stating, “The only thing that
separates women of color from anybody else is opportunity.”
Well Whoopi doesn’t see it that way at all. In fact, she
said that things are quite the opposite, and that black actresses have a lot
more opportunities than they know what to do with.
She said: “I’m not sure what that [Viola] means;
Opportunity to do what? You know what I mean? The truth of the matter is, there have been plenty of opportunities.
Look at ‘Scandal!’ Kerry Washington is there, and she’s working her booty off. But
they didn’t vote for her. So maybe the question is, “What do you have to do, to
get voted for?” Not that the opportunity is not there. We’ve had lots of
opportunities. See, now, there will be more parts, more dramas because Viola won
an Emmy award. The truth is everyone wants an Emmy, the studios, everyone! So
they’ll hire more Black women.”
First of all, I’m not exactly sure that she meant by the last
part of that quote, so maybe someone can enlighten me. And, yes,
you can argue that there are certainly more opportunities for black actresses
today. But still, they’re still nowhere equal to the opportunities that white
Secondly, Whoopi never addresses that fact that it’s who’s behind
the camera that really wields all the power. Both Viola Davis and Kerry Washington
would not have the chance to play the leads in two very successful TV shows if
it wasn’t for Shonda Rhimes at the helm. Has Whoopi ever created and produced a
TV show starring a black actress or even herself? Instead, exclusively, she has
been hired for projects by others who could have very easily hired someone else.
And just because she has been consistently working since the
late 80’s, does not mean that every other black actress has had the
same experience. Just the opposite. Though of course, there are always
parts for the usual stereotyped roles, such as the caring, selfless and token
black friend, or the sassy black coworker.
And also, by opportunities, does she mean the kind of work that
she’s been doing for the last several years, co-hosting a morning talk show, and doing
occasional small supporting roles in films? Her days as an above the
title, A-list star, during the 1990’s, are long gone. Perhaps that’s not what
Davis has in mind when she talks about opportunities. But maybe for Whoopi, it’s the paying gig that counts, so she can’t complain.
Or is there perhaps a whiff of jealousy here on Whoopi’s
part? Why should Davis get all the acclaim while she’s been around for a lot longer than she has? And though she’s been nominated for Emmys several times, she has never won. Remember she won an Oscar for best supporting actress in “Ghost,” but that was nearly 25 years ago, an who remembers that? But Davis has been nominated for Oscar twice, and has never won; so Whoopi has one up on her.
But do you agree with Whoopi or is she talking nonsense?