Photo Credit: Jill Heupel Photography Edwardsville, IL
Perhaps you didn't know that the original Steel Magnolias was about a young woman named Shelby who had diabetes and the friends and family that surrounded her wedding, journey to motherhood, and death. Specifically, Shelby had type I diabetes---yep, the kind I've got.
I adore that film, and I have since I saw it for the first time, at the tender age of 11. I was eating junk food with my girlfriend and her mom while we sprawled out on the living room carpet and watched the dramatic, hilarious, and heartbreaking movie unfold. This was long before I had type I.
The movie has been remade, and the cast includes Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott, and Alfre Woodard---a black, female cast. Please watch the preview!
Movies starring blacks haven't been well-received by the overall public. Black actors have struggled to move past supporting roles. I remember seeing a story about the movie Red Tails, and how it took almost twenty years for the movie to be produced because Hollywood basically refused it due to it's all-black cast. The director, George Lucas, had to self-fund the film.
I want to encourage you to watch this film when it debuts on Lifetime (date TBA). Ratings teach networks what their viewers want more of. Let's support African American actors!
What else can one do? Well for personal/family gain and education and to help support the black community and their media endeavors, try:
1: Subscribe to magazines like Ebony and Jet and Essence.
2: Read and comment on websites like Madame Noire, My Brown Baby, and Black Voices (Huffington Post).
3: Purchase books written by African American writers.
4: Write letters of appreciation to those who are doing great things for the black community.
5: Follow your favorite black actors on Facebook and Twitter; leave them encouraging messages.
What do you do in your home to support and uplift the African American community?
You might also be wondering why I find it so important to support black actors, writers, producers, etc.? Because, when we adopted black children, we became a black/white family. Yep, look at me. I'm white. But arguably, I'm now also black, too, by association. And issues that matter to black folks, and the ways black folks are climbing to media success, well, these things matter to me! I want my girls to grow up in a world where blacks matter as much as whites. Where black actors are given the same opportunities as white actors. Where black writers can sell books just like white authors can sell books. And the way to make these things happen is by doing something! "Vote" with your money (the movies you go see, the books you buy), vote with your social media, vote with your words and actions. Create the world you want your children to live in. Let's go!