Welcome to reelsistas.com.
This blog is my tribute to the sistas of cinema who constantly do their thing in front of and behind the silver screen. I absolutely love movies, more specifically black movies. I am fascinated by story of black Hollywood and its formation. I am a fanatic when it comes to black celebrity and can spend hours at Barnes and Nobles or Borders scouring the pages of Essence, Ebony, Jet, Jewel, and Sister 2 Sister for information about the lives of my favorite black stars. I watch Entertainment Tonight, E! and search countless blogs and websites for every tidbit of information that I can gather.
I am also a womanist and scholar intrigued by the portrayals of black women in American society. I have studied the images that the media would have us believe reflect what it is to be a black woman in America. Recently, while perusing the biography section of Barnes and Nobles, I realized that of the 772 titles, only 17 were about black women (that comes out to be less that 3%). So I got to thinking about the countless black women whose stories weren’t reflected on that shelf. I thought about the politicians, the activists, the teachers and singer. Then, I thought about all the sistas I had seen through the years on film and on television. These were the women I had searched high and low for information about. However, for some reasons (several which will be discussed in this blog) these women do not get the media attention and respect that they deserve. Did none of these women have stories of value?
So fueled by my desire to tell the stories of my sistas coupled with my insatiable appetite for entertainment news and pop culture, reelsistas.com is born.
My decision to launch reelsistas.com on Labor Day is not accidental. Labor Day is one of the few national holidays dedicated to all people. The holiday is devoted to no man or group, to no sect, nor race. Today, the world celebrates the millions of people who work everyday to make their community a better place. Today, I celebrate the reel sistas who work everyday to create a better media image of black women. This blog is designed to honor and acknowledge the strength and esprit de corps of the circle of the black women who have worked and continue to work to change the face of sistas in cinema.
Being black and a woman in an industry and country that is both racist and sexist is no easy feat. Often times the industry and the media try to pit sistas against each other or herald one above the rest. One of my favorite reel sistas, Gabrielle Union, said it best when she said “I think about Halle [Berry] and [Queen] Latifah, and they are the only two black actresses that work consistently. It scares me.”
Black actresses have to fight for a handful of good roles and only a few more not-so good roles. Additionally more and more other ethnic types are taking the roles as the girlfriend of the brother or the best friend. Black actresses have to battle more and more for fewer and fewer roles. Behind the lens, the state of black women is not much better. Black women screenwriters, directors and producers are few and far between.
Throughout the history of filmmaking in America, black women have contributed significantly to the world of film. In fact, it was a black woman, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, who gave birth to what would become Black Hollywood. Desperate to make a living to provide for her family, Madame introduced herself to famed director D.W. Griffith and a long-standing working relationship and friendship was forged. This same perseverance and desire to entertain has been the motivating force behind the journeys of many black actresses. So, in the words of writer Pearl Cleage, I speak the names of those legends who have paved the way for all reel sistas. This is for Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Hattie McDaniel, and Fredi Washington.
reelsistas.com seeks to bridge the gap between the reel sistas and the real sistas who want to see themselves, their mothers, their sisters, their daughters and their friends reflected on the big screen. This blog is a celebration of all that it means to be a black woman in film. This site will highlight women of color both in front of and behind the lens. It will spotlight the stars of yesterday, today and tomorrow. This blog will also shed a light on the black actresses, directors, producers and screenwriters whose names you may not know; women who are slowly, but surely changing the face of Hollywood. This blog will feature movie reviews and commentaries on the classic and contemporary films that star reel sistas. This blog will be a premiere source of information and entertainment.
So welcome and I look forward to your comments as I travel on this journey.