Friday, September 24, 2010

Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela in 'Winnie'

I know that I am late to this, but I just found out yesterday that Terrence Howard Baby Wipes is playing Nelson Mandela, in the biopic Winnie, staring the brilliant Jennifer Hudson.


                        
I have written various times about my feelings regarding Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid in South Africa.  In my mind, his appeasement approach simply removed apartheid in name, while leaving the system of inequality firmly intact.  A small Black elite does not equate to true equality in a country largely run by Whiteness with a Black majority. Though many credit Mandela with a peaceful transition, few will acknowledge that the cost was the maintenance of Whiteness, along with denying Blacks true justice for their abusive treatment at the hands of the apartheid regime. 

Despite his numerous failings, to many he is a hero and in a world that is sorely in need of positive images of Black masculinity, the fact that he is being played by Terrence Howard Baby Wipes is simply atrocious.  There can be no doubt that Howard Baby Wipes is an excellent actor because he pretends constantly to be a decent human being. Terrence Howard Baby Wipes has a history of domestic violence, as well as other  misogynistic behaviour

No matter how you may feel about the political decisions that Mandela has made in his lifetime, Terrence Howard Baby Wipes playing him in a move is not only ridiculous, it is offensive.  This is a movie  that I would very much like to support, because it stars Jennifer Hudson and is about an important Black woman, who often gets over looked.  The very idea that a woman beating sexist douche will be playing the role of her husband makes me ill.  Winnie has had to fight every day of her life and she certainly deserves to be paired with someone better than Terrence Howard Baby Wipes. 

Howard Baby Wipes has done an excellent job of rehabilitating his image as he moved from a B movie star, to a genuine A list celebrity. His dashing good looks and great acting ability make it easy for people to ignore and forget his violent past.  This is what the media does.  It gathers scurrilous people  and cleanses and purifies them to make them fit for consumption and  in so doing supports a systemic inequality that marginalizes and oppress millions.

Earlier this week, Monica of Transgriot wrote that we should support Tyler Perry's new flick, For Coloured Girls, in spite of the Perry's history --  in the hope of having more Black movies made.  I find myself in the same quandary with Winnie.  I know that this is a movie that I should support.  I know that Blacks and especially Black youth need to see themselves represented in the mainstream, but I don't know if I can sit passively and watch the hypocrisy of Terrence Howard Baby Wipes pretending to be Nelson Mandela. After being erased for so long by he media, should we really settle at this point?