A Bridging of the Gap or Another Way for Black Actors to Feel Accepted?
Just eleven years ago, Jamie Foxx was on the comedy show, “In Living Color.” Though an extraordinary actor, he could not shake being stigmatized for funny or buffoon-like movie roles. No one thought that this year Jamie Foxx would capture a Golden Globe, especially not for the serious role of Ray.
Jamie Foxx along with many other African American actors and actresses are finally getting credit for roles outside of comedy.
In 2002 Halle Berry was the first African American woman to win an Oscar and she won it for the controversial movie, Monster’s Ball. In the past Halle Berry had played stereotypical black comedic roles; especially in the movie B.A.P.S. and Bullworth.
Will Smith was also an actor that played in the comedy series, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Will Smith left the series to pursue big- budget movies but he still had to first create a good reputation with audiences because he could make them laugh.
There are actors such as Denzel Washington that have opened-up the door for black actors to command respect. People black and white respect Denzel for his excellent dramatic acting roles.
Ashley Davidson, a 20-year old, Howard University student says,“Ever since back in the day in the 60’s and 70’s we only made noises and were supposed to be funny, now Denzel and others are recognized for drama and something serious.”
The question that many people pose is, “Is it really important or does it matter that blacks are being recognized for their acting accomplishments since award shows like the NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards, and Essence Awards have always acknowledged us?
Michael Dobson, 21- year old student at George Washington University would say that is does matter.
“It does matter because now blacks are being officially seen by the greater culture; white people are the dominant culture.”
Some people do not look at the issue as a black and white polarization issue. Some look at the issue from a gray perspective; there is a bigger message.
Adams Clements is a 20-year old student at Villonova University. He says, “Black actors do not feel as though they need to be accepted but Jamie Foxx’s award along with Halle’s and Denzel Washington’s is an excellent stepping stone for continuing to bring the black and white race together.
Black actors have come an extremely long way from Bojangles to Denzel Washington in Training Day.
People will continue to have different perspectives on whether black actors winning awards that have customarily been won by white counterparts is either a bridging of the gap or just a way to give people the illusion that black actors and actresses are being accepted.
The greater message is that though black actors and actresses will truly never know the reason why they are finally winning awards such as Oscars, Golden Globes, etc., they do know that their acting skills in motion pictures and television series are greatly impacting lives across the world.