It Trivializes The Past

While moviegoers are enjoying the master storytelling that is The Help, a group of women released a statement today that the tale of African American maids in the 1960s is not accurate. Stars of the movie were reportedly prepared for this backlash as it brings back to the front burner the racially charged decade.

The Association of Black Women Historians urges fans of both the best-selling novel and movie The Help to look beyond what was the opinion of one writer, and really consider the women the novel is centered upon. The statement issued read, "Despite efforts to market the book and the film as a progressive story of triumph over racial injuustice, The Help distorts, ignores and trivializes the experiences of black domestic workers."

The Help

While the group admires and respects the performances of the movie's black actresses, they felt that the scene where the black community did nothing but become afraid after civil rights pioneer Medgar Evers was assassinated was inaccurate. It is noted that during a screening hosted by the NAACP, his widow Myrlie Evers-Williams loved the film.

They took a stand against the dialect used in the book by author Kathryn Stockett, the fact that she portrayed black men as absent and her version of the harrassment black domestic workers endured for years at the hands of their rich employers.

The real story behind The Help>>

The group also states, "The Association of Black Women Historians finds it unacceptable for either this book or this film to strip black women's lives of historial accuracy for the sake of entertainment."

Castmate Viola Davis has won rave reviews for her performance of Aibileen Clark, the character who agreed to speak out on the mistreatment of black women who served as domestic help for racist white women in the story. Said Davis, "I feel like I've brought my mom to life; I've channeled her spirit," she told The Hollywood Reporter.

"I channeled the spirit of my grandmother and I've kind of paid homage to how they've contributed to my life and the lives of so many people. She also revealed that her mother was herself a housemaid in Rhode Island during the same era where the film takes place.

Read more of Viola's story here>>

Said Viola, "My mom was very young when she had me and worked as a domestic and in factories. It was just terrible because she had gifts, she was capable. But there were no choices for her except basic survival."

Photo Credit: Dale Robinett/DreamworksII Distribution Co. LLC

Tags: kathryn stockett

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Comments on "Black women historians dislike "The Help""

Marion L. August 24, 2011 | 4:56 PM

Dear Molle: I don't blame you for being extremely angry about the history of racism in the United States, the ongoing reality of racism in the United States, and the exploitation of Black domestic workers. You have a right to dislike both the film and book version of The Help. However, a boycott is ineffective. It undermines whatever criticisms you wish to make because it means that you haven't actually read the book or seen the film that you are criticizing. If you don't want to give money to the author of the book, you can borrow it from a public library. If you don't want to pay to see the film, you can also borrow the DVD from a public library when it is released. I think that your criticisms would be more effective if they were based on a detailed knowledge of the book and the film.

Molle August 13, 2011 | 7:32 AM

I'm boycotting the book and film, THE HELP. Black Folks think before you leap forward to support this latest lie about how white women redeemed black women in the South. This is about a white woman with a guilt complex regarding her being raised and supported on the hard labor of free black women who were still be treated as slaves in America. The author of the book is making a fortune on the blood, sweat, tears and fight of Black women who as domestics kept the white world going by doing all the hard work, even raising their overprivileged kids. When will America stop lying to the world by insisting that White People gave Black People freedom in America. Our Black Ancestors fought and died for the right of Black People who were enslaved in America to be treated like human beings in this world. You can right all the books about the good Whites folks who helped us, but the truth is they gave us nothing!!! The black actors in the film do so for exposure as Whites own all media. These black actors need to work and realize that the white world support their own and will continue to perpetulate these centuries old lies. Black Folk wise up and boycott the film. Speak your truth about your own story. The Help is capitalism turned into fiction and entertainment. The struggle of Blacks in America, even now, is not for the entertainment of the White World. Know this, I am not prejudiced, just informed of the truth!!!!!!!

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