Whoopi Do Daby Brandon Edmonds / 13.08.2009
Part 4 in our ongoing saga to root out how Hollywood has defined us. Sarafina, circa 1992. A Disney cartoon etched in wood, but the songs still soar – ‘Freedom is coming Tomorrow!’ – and Whoopi Goldberg has enough warmth, wisdom and strength to power the Las Vegas strip. She’s an Earth Mother. The all-knowing, all-seeing Black Woman. There was one in the Matrix films. There’s one in Benjamin Button.
It’s as if Hollywood has a guilty conscience about the historical misuse of black actresses (from the maid in ‘Gone With the Wind’ who had to sit with the kitchen staff at the Academy Awards to Carrie giving an overly grateful assistant her first pair of Manolo’s in the dire ‘Sex & the City’ movie to Halle Berry’s increasingly comprehensive bouts of nudity to get hired). But Whoopi is Whoopi enough to fleck her character with much needed grit. She comes across as courageous only because the political situation allows her nothing else to be, and wise enough to look beyond it. See it again for Leleti Khumalo’s bowler hat which all good film buffs will immediately associate with Lena Olin’s lithe nakedness in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’.