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“Precious” is About Women I Know
When I saw the trailer for the new film "Precious" I cried. This film made me think alot about an old life I was too familiar with. It made me think about alot of women that I am close to. It made me think about my sister in her Tenderloin days, about that loud funny girl in class that smacked her gum too loud, about that girl in West Point who had AIDS and everyone stayed away from her, about that girl walking up and down Folsom pretending she has somewhere to go, about that teacher I use to have a crush on in middle school, about women. "Precious" women. This was their story.
Yesterday, thanks to the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) I was invited to watch a sneak preview of the film. I couldn't be objective watching this film, it gave me a sort of PTSD watching it and I even cried on my BART ride home. There has been quite the controversy of the film because some believe it perpetuates the stigma of life for African-American women. But to me it brings light and advocates a new hero to the Hollywood industry.
The film is based off of Sapphire's novel, "Push.” The film to me has arrived at a pivotal moment. It comes at a time where a 15-year-old girl in Richmond is gang raped, at a time where a lot of people call a famous pop star beating a woman a "small mishap" to his career, at a time where young women especially of color or queer in the inner-city are barely visible in the conversation of anything and ignored.
Even in the screening of the film.
The screening was filled with a queer audience because the preview was brought by Frameline – a queer production company. And if you are queer you'll notice that this is a pretty queer film.
This is not necessarily a queer film, but Sapphire is an openly bisexual woman and Lee Daniels is a gay man and together they've made a way to throw in some advocacy in this film.
The majority of the audiebce were older gay white men, maybe 80 percent.
I had heard a white man say to his partner after the movie, "it was so realistic." I envied his comment and it mirrored in disdain for every white man I saw on my BART ride home. And that was a long ass BART ride.
At the end of my BART ride I realized that I shouldn't make judgements on people who live a different life than I. They don’t know and it’s good that this film is there because sometimes people can only know through watching it at theater where they feel safe. I was just mad because this story is not just a "its so realistic" movie, it is a “women I know” movie. Women at the register that you buy coffee from in the morning that smile and say thank you. Women that all you know about them is just what you want to know about them.
The story is set in Harlem around the 80's. It is a story about Clareeice Precious Jones (played by Gabourey Sidibe) an overweight illiterate black girl whom is raped by her absent father and hence bares two of his children. Dealing with that her mother has an internal trauma misplacing her anger for her boyfriend on Precious. Monique whom plays her very first serious roles as Precious's mother takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions as the whole movie does as well. Hating her in the beginning and then empathizing in the end. Also making appearances in the film are Lenny Kravitz as a nurse, Paula Patton as her alternative school lesbian teacher and Mariah Carey as her social worker. Who I must say, makes you forget she made a film named "Glitter."
Right now, I’m typing this piece on at a One Stop on Mission sitting next to a girl I watched in a documentary a couple of years ago, maybe 5. She's from Sunnydale. My sister use to sell dope with her. At the time of the documentary she was incarcerated at a young age for shooting her brother, pregnant and came from a family where drugs and abuse mentally/ physical are normal. I know parts of her story. Its nasty, its nothing no one wants to face because they'll cry. But more or so she is sitting right next to me and she's real -- still alive with a smile working on her resume trying to get a job.
The movie "Precious" is not just a film for you to cry about and laugh at. Like the older gay white man said "it is so realistic." Maybe he chose to walk by "Precious" a couple of times while walking with his partner in the city, but she's there. And you can watch a movie and pretend that it’s just a Hollywood film but there’s always a Precious around, she's just not a movie.