Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stop Wigging Out!

We pull out the glasses, pour the wine, turn our phones on Do Not Disturb mode, and put the kiddies to bed early... tonight is Shondaland Night on ABC.  For three hours we get to bask in intriguing, electric paced television that causes our jaws to drop and our eyes to widen while we gasp for breath.   Gynormous--although a made up word--is not big enough to describe the feat that a writer, Shonda Rhimes marquee's three national network television shows. 

The eldest, Grey's Anatomy is in its eleventh season.  I repeat 11th season. 

Scandal garners record market shares so ferociously that national and cable networks shuffle shows opposing Thursday's #1 hit show for four seasons-- I repeat 4th season-- like a game of shell swap. 

Now we have, How To Get Away With Murder.  As Executive Producer, Rhimes' did not create nor does she write on the show.  However, the show bears the stamp of Shondaland's predecessors.

How To Get Away With Murder
Airs Thursdays 10pm EST, ABC
Viola Davis is a proven twenty year-plus veteran of stage, film and television.  We've seen Davis opposite some of the best:  Phylicia Rashad ( Everybody's Ruby, The Public Theater NYC);  Meryl Streep (Doubt) for which Davis was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress;  Sissy Spacek (The Help) for which Davis won Best Actress AAFC and received the Golden Globe Nomination.  Now we see her standing strong in her own prime time television series.  How magnanimous!  Yet, as a community of viewers, many have decided to focus public debate on--drumroll please-- her wig. 

Qualified Black actresses abound in Hollywood yet viable mediums for displaying such talent are minimal.

My question is do we want to see the likes of highly skilled actors like Viola Davis and scores of others, or not?  If we do, why reduce the credibility of these actors and give firewood to simplemindedness for a surface, low level complaint that should yield no merit or momentum. Did it ever dawn on complainers that Annalise Keating, a high profile Defense Attorney and Law Professor (Davis' character) wears a bad wig?  You don't think this issue is dangerous?  Two words.  Pam Oliver.

Pam Oliver's weave became food for fodder on the lips of many.  Now, a trained, seasoned journalist reports sports, not as an A-team side-line analyst for Fox Sports but as a B-team analyst.   Did her hair have anything to do with this change?  I don't know for sure, but why give ammunition for the gun to fire in the wrong direction?

Two more words.  Gabby Douglas.  A fierce competitor, the first African-American gymnast to win the all around gold medal in the 2012 Olympics and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics.   Douglas also is the only American all-around champion to win multiple gold medals. She was a member of the gold-winning U.S. team at the 2011 World Championship.  With all of her amazing accomplishments, some focused on what?  Her hair.  And please don't let me get started on the media frenzy created over a two-year old--Blue Ivy Carter--whose parents have decided to allow her locks to grow naturally and free.

Gabby Douglas
All Around Individual Gold Medalist
Team USA Gold Medalist
Olympics 2012
I cannot believe that our collective human goal is to vibrate at such a surface, low-level of existence.  This fight is not the best use of energy, resources, time and most importantly our collective Power! 

We must comprehend the magnitude of which Shonda Rhimes or anyone for that matter, must endure to get a show on television, much less three.  To complain about such triviality denies the very logic of our Ancestors who fought for us to be judged by the content of our character not the color of our skin--in this case the weight of our wigs.

Instead of forcing our executives/creators/executive producers/directors and all around big whigs into meetings to fight through minutia, let's arm them with incredible ratings.  Let's cloak them in measurable support to request increased budgets, strong and diverse story lines and a ground swell of roles for Black Actors--female and male-- in all genres and areas of television. 

I believe we can use our power for good and focus on what we like, opposed to what's not right.  Let's prudently use our words and our power in social media.  A little discretion can go a long way.

This is Toni Staton Harris, Checkin' Up and Checkin' In on us to stop Wigging Out! #TGIT

1 comment:

  1. Very well said!! I (we) are so much more than our hair. I choose to focus on the many accomplishments & accolades these ladies have achieved. It is their gift/craft that we are able to see and enjoy.