I’m growing tired of this “Mad Black Woman” narrative. Angela Bassett is a sore loser because she didn’t applaud Jamie Lee Curtis’ success at the Oscars? How many times do you think Angela won an award and didn’t get an applause from her fellow nominees? Did those people go viral? But when a Black woman does it, it’s a whole problem and she’s “unprofessional” and a “sore loser”. She wasn’t a sore loser when she was making directors millions though was, she? Is Angela not human? Is she not allowed to be in her feelings? Trust me, Angela’s response was the response of many Black viewers.
Don’t get me wrong, Jamie Lee is an amazing actor but who actually watched Everything Everywhere All at Once? I am going to be very transparent here, and maybe I’ve been living under a rock but I’ve never even heard of the film. Have you? I think the last film I can remember seeing her in was Halloween (P.S. I had to google to confirm that it was her).
What I am willing to bet on is that you’ve heard and likely watched the film Angela was nominated for – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. That film was the most watched Marvel premiere on Disney+ on a global basis and earned over $842 million at the global box office. If my research is correct Everything Everywhere All at Once? has only made $113 million.
Here is the thing, too many of us have been in positions where our counterparts are praised for something we’ve been doing, yet we don’t get the same recognition. What Angela wasn’t going to do was give no fake applause, and she shouldn’t have to. Better no applause than a fake one, no?
Now here are three reasons why Angela and other Black women are snubbed regularly:
Black women experience multiple forms of oppression due to their intersectional identity. Their experiences are shaped by their race and gender, often resulting in unique and compounded forms of discrimination and marginalization. Take the film industry for instance; Black woman actors are paid less, given fewer opportunities for advancement, and receive less recognition for their contributions. This isn’t something new. In 2021, Viola Davis stated that Black actors were treated like “leftovers” in Hollywood. She also said, “It’s so hard to get films made that don’t fit a certain box of how they see us” – which leads me to point #2.
2. Stereotypes and Limited Roles.
Black women are often stereotyped in the media and in society at large. Stereotypes such as the “angry black woman” or the “hypersexualized black woman” can lead to assumptions about Black women’s capabilities and worth. It’s possible that Angela Bassett playing a Queen in Wakanda was just something too out of the “ordinary” for the Oscars.
3. Lack of Diversity.
Hollywood is still – White and male. Hence #OscarsSoWhite. A 95-year survey found that over the history of the Oscars, only 6% of nominees were BIPOC, and 17% of all nominees have been women. Black women represent just 2% of the total nominees.
I think Black women deserve the right to be Black, and the right to be mad. We all know that Angela should have received an Oscar by now. Like, come on, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” definitely should have won in 1994. I was 2 years old when the film was made and I swear I watch it every year to hear her say “Go straight to hell, Ike!”. That movie is timeless.
So, after all these years who can blame her for being annoyed with the system. But who needs the Oscars for recognition anyway? Angela, we see you! We recognize you and applaud all that you have been and continue to be. (P.S. Round of applause for that fit! Straight gorgeous, not to mention she’s aging like fine wine).