The director of Love & Basketball
and Disappearing Acts
, Gina Prince-Bythewood
, will be honored today at UCLA. Prince-Bythewood is a UCLA grad and is being recognized as the UCLA Filmmaker of the Year.
The filmmaker's most recent work is The Secret Life of Bees
, which starred Dakota Fanning
, Jennifer Hudson
, Queen Latifah
and Alicia Keys
. Prince-Bythewood came under some criticism that the characters in the film were "magical Negroes." The director responded with this:
Our Black experience is as multi-faceted and complex as any other race but when people are confronted with something out of their familiarity, rejection or criticism often follows.
Think about the uproar over “The Cosby Show,” labeled a “fantasy” by white critics. Or Obama's early presidential campaign, labeled a “fantasy” by our first "Black president" Bill Clinton. Because Owen Gleiberman did not recognize the women he saw on screen he too, dismissed them as a “fantasy.”
This is not the first time, nor will it be the last. My hope is that the more diverse images of us appear on screen, the more the world will be unable to find comfort in old stereotypes.
It's clear why the writer and director is being honored -- she stands by her art with no apologies. Congrats to Gina!