Hollywood, We Have A Trend!

Why am I reading about folks feeling so surprised, and more than a little bit embarrassed, that Best Song Nominee, "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" will be performed in less than two days by Three 6 Mafia at the Oscars?

One of the young members of this group of African-American devil worshipers, (three sixes does equal 666) Jordon "Juicy J" Houston proclaimed: "They didn't even have to tell us. As soon as they asked us to perform it, we ran into the studio and did a rewrite. It's gonna be a strong, clean, positive performance. " Uh-huh.

If it's so clean, strong and positive, why is Eva Longoria claiming in Britain's Mirror newspaper that Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington and Will Smith had a few words for Best Actor nominee, Terrence Howard? According to Longoria, Poitier didn't want Howard to perform the song, telling him, "Do not get up there and represent the African American community singing about a pimp."

Let's take a journey with the Black Ghosts of Oscar's Past. Here's a look back at some of the Black winners for Best Song:

  • Did anyone feel the race might be embarrassed and the future of Black actors jeopardized in 1986 when Lionel Richie won for Say You Say Me from the movie "White Nights?" I'm certain he probably had to go back to the studio to edit the F-Bomb out of the song and come up with some Oscar-friendly lyrics.
  • Stevie Wonder won in 1985 for I Just Called To Say I Love You from "The Woman in Red." All these years, Stevie has been hiding the fact that the real title of the song is B****, I Just Called To Say F**K You.
  • "Flashdance" was a hot movie and What A Feeling by Irene Cara in 1983 was the song! How inspiring...listening to it just made my 11-year-old self feel like I could do anything. Will children listening to It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp feel the same??
  • Issac Hayes winning for Theme For Shaft in 1972. Now, when I think about this one, it probably was a slap in Black Power Movement's face that this song won. Shaft was 1972's version of the Big Black Buck stereotype. Fast forward 33 years and in 2005, the Shaft song seems pretty tame.
I've seen so many articles this week proclaiming that the F-word, S-word and N-word are going to be left out of the performance (but the B-word is ok according to the Academy and network censors) so I'm supposed to feel perfectly relaxed about this. Hello world, in 2005, the most important thing to happen wasn't stupid-a$$ "Hustle and Flow." Or Brokeback Mountain for that matter.

Why this song? And why this song now? In case you forgot, in 2005, the rug got rolled back on America's racism and generational poverty. Have you already forgotten having your tv glued to CNN while watching folks cling to their rooftops? People are still in the most dire of circumstances due to Hurricane Katrina, and our nation's duplicity and hypocrisy in the aftermath. Given this, I'm supposed to be proud that Three 6 Mafia is performing at the Oscars? What are they going to do? Give a shout out to all the victims of Katrina? "Sorry things are still messed up, seven months later, y'all."

No, in case folks started to wonder if their beliefs about Black America were incorrect, we needed a reminder. Oh Hollywood loves us on the big screen, as long as we stick to certain roles. We are a ho, a pimp, a trick, a slave, a hustler, a gangsta, a gangsta-bitch, a criminal, an athlete, a drug addict, mammy, tragic mulatto, a sell-out, an Uncle Tom, or the Magical Savior/Teacher sent to spice up life and enlighten the white folks. If we play any those roles, we might be Oscar material. Just like you didn't see Denzel get nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for "Malcolm X", you didn't see Terrence Howard get nominated for "Crash."

  • Hattie MacDaniel gave us a performance as everyone's favorite mammy in "Gone With the Wind". She won Best-Supporting Actress and probably never wanted to hear the name Scarlett ever again.

  • Sydney Poitier won Best Actor for "Lilies of the Field". I've never seen this one so I can't comment.
  • Lou Gossett Jr. won Best Supporting Actor for "An Officer and a Gentleman" - I had to find this out online. This is another one I've never seen and only knew that Richard Gere and Debra Winger starred in it. Now, isn't that interesting?
  • Denzel Washington won Best Supporting Actor because he took the beating of a lifetime playing a slave/soldier in "Glory".
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. showed us the money in "Jerry Maguire". He won BSA and got up on stage and acted like a fool.
  • Whoopi Goldberg saw spirits in "Ghost" and won for Best Supporting Actress. Okaay.
  • Denzel played a thinly veiled version of criminal cop Rafael Perez, star of Los Angeles' Rampart Police Scandal .
  • Halle Berry bared it ALL in "Monster's Ball". I'm still shocked by that one because no one told me it was coming. I remember watching what was happening on screen and thinking, "Oh NO, Halle! Oh, I know you are not...dang it, you sure are." Then she got up there and cried and told everyone it was for Dorothy Dandrige.
  • Jamie Fox won for Ray. I didn't see it because I'm not a Ray Charles fan. Wasn't Ray a drug addict? A HUGE drug addict? I think Jamie was probably better in "Collateral" - but of course, he didn't win for that.

Now we're right back at the same-ole-same-ole with Terrence Howard being nominated for his role as Djay in "Hustle and Flow."

If Terrence wins, will he get up there and shout out the makers of "Pimps Up Hos Down" for their original groundbreaking work and research regarding the true stories of pimps with hearts of gold? Will he say, "Bishop Don Juan, I know you've had struggles we can't even imagine."

I don't even want to think about that. Please join me in sincerely hoping Terrence and that sad pimp song both go home empty-handed.


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