Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join Liberty Nation each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinsel Town’s A-listers and their whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Aunt Jemima Gets a Makeover
Aunt Jemima has been around for 130 years, and in that time, she has had a few makeovers. Now there’s an outcry for a much larger change, and Quaker Oats agreed that it was past time for an update to the image of a black woman who represents slavery. The company recently removed the “mammy” kerchief and said a name change would help “make progress towards racial equality.”
Riché Richardson, an associate professor at Cornell University, told the TODAY show that the Aunt Jemima logo was rooted in the stereotype of the “mammy … a devoted and submissive servant who eagerly nurtured the children of her white master and mistress while neglecting her own.”
TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson – who also claims the titles of astrophysicist, cosmologist, planetary scientist, science communicator, and author – took to Twitter to express his thoughts. He wrote, “It’s not that Aunt Jemima was a symbol of racist past, she was the very embodiment of a racist past. She will not be missed by anyone who knew that.”
Hours after it was announced that Aunt Jemima would be getting a makeover, Uncle Ben’s rice also indicated it would revamp its logo to be more inclusive.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland are putting Splash Mountain on the chopping block as well because the ride features characters from the 1946 film Song of the South. Bob Iger, Disney’s chairman and former CEO, said that the movie was so out of touch and date that it would never be available on Disney+ to either purchase or stream. Petitions are circulating the internet asking for the amusement ride to be rebranded for The Princess and the Frog, which featured a black female lead.
1921 Tulsa Race Massacre will get Airtime
Isn’t it ironic that as people are tearing down Confederate statues, rebranding logos, and basically rewriting history, Hollywood only now finds it opportune to capitalize on a violent event from nearly a century ago depicting white on black crimes?
In April, Ashleigh Di Tonto submitted a pitch for a documentary miniseries on the 1921 race massacre, but was denied because the event was too obscure – white rioters destroyed an area in Oklahoma called Black Wall Street. All that changed after the May 25 killing of George Floyd. Now, LeBron James’ Spring Hill productions is planning to produce a documentary on the event with Bad Rap’s Salima Koroma as the director. NBA’s Russell Westbrook has partnered with Blackfin to produce a docuseries called Terror in Tulsa: The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street with Stanley Nelson as the director, and Dream Hampton is working on a miniseries titled Black Wall Street with Cineflix Productions.
Cineflix president J.C. Mills said that Dream Hampton’s “sensitive yet hard-hitting approach will honor the fallen and help heal a wound by shining a light on a story that’s been brushed under the rug for far too long.”
President Donald Trump will be holding a campaign at the Bank of Oklahoma Center on June 20, just as these projects are being set up. Di Tonto said, “In just a few months, we’re now at multiple projects with huge names, and this may sound trite, but I’m just happy that this is being told.”
Oscars Postponed and #OscarsSoWhite
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of changes; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC announced that next year’s Academy Awards will be postponed. Instead of Feb. 28, the event will now be held on April 25.
Meanwhile, the Academy task force has been working on its goal “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility” after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy sparked outrage that there were not enough non-white and female members. The board of governors approved a package to improve the diversity of Oscar nominees and membership dubbed the “Academy Aperture 2025.”
Some of the new standards it hopes to achieve include going from five best picture nominees to a guaranteed ten to “level the playing field” as well as limiting terms for board members.
And in a final piece of hypocrisy, the City of Beverly Hills – where the rich, famous, and ostensibly woke of Hollywood choose to call home – has deemed gatherings of more than ten people illegal. In a message that is clearly at odds with their stream of virtue signaling tropes, the city leadership wrote:
“To preserve the peace and tranquility of residential neighborhoods, effective tonight and until further notice, no more than 10 people shall gather in an assembly in a public right of way in a residential area between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.”
The message here could not be clearer: we will pay lip-service to your cause, but don’t even think about bringing it where we live. Could the ostensible beating heart of American culture be any more rotten?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.