“I think this story is important today because it’s a story that still has not been told… we all too quickly try and hide or ignore this part of history that is filled with so much shame… but I feel like we have to deal with it, we have to open it up because it really did happen, and we have to accept it and learn from it. We have to learn from the pain of our ancestors.” – Lupita Nyong’o
Ok, so we’re sure you’ve seen all the comments and posts about Lupita Nyong’o’s Oscar win — we blogged about it, too (of course)! But have you also seen the posts by all the haters? What’s sad is that many of these haters look like us!
What’s their problem? They claim that Black girls only win Oscars when they play slaves and maids. First of all, that’s not true: Whoopi Goldberg won, Halle Berry won, Jennifer Hudson won, and Mo’Nique won — none of them played slaves or maids.
Second of all, let’s not get it twisted. Lupita’s “Patsey” is not even close to Hattie McDaniel’s “Mammy.” Like, not even. Mammy was the fictional, stereotypical, obese Black woman who just loved her white “family” so much, even more than her own and was seemingly content with her role in servitude. The whole reason Mammy characters even existed was to give off this look that slavery was good for Black people and that they all liked it. (Sooo many side-eyes here. So many.)
Patsey, on the other hand, was a real woman, who actually lived, who was forced to live in slavery, who was brutally abused, and who did not enjoy catering to her master’s whims.
To hate on Patsey is to hate on all of our ancestors. We’re all Black girls and in our family trees, there are slaves. We should never be ashamed of them. They’re not the ones who set up slavery. They didn’t ask to be stolen from their homes and abused for hundreds of years. What did they do, though? They survived. Now, that’s real.
They survived so that we could live as we do now. Celebrate that — they’re a part of all of us. And that’s something to be proud of.
Lupita, girl, the ancestors approve.