you know how maggie gyllenhaal almost single-handedly ruins the dark knight because there’s no way in hell that the audience can believe that the two most handsome and powerful men in the city of gotham would both be madly in love with someone so, for a lack of a better term, plain?
well, in american violet, nicole beharie has the complete opposite effect. i couldn’t completely buy the movie –a factual account of a racially charged texas court case– because i had trouble believing that someone who looked, walked, and carried herself like her could be a 24-year-old single mother of four in a drug-infested texas housing project. she was just “too” (pretty, confident, etc) everything to be truly convincing.
when you add this to the fact that i’d never seen or heard of her before american violet, you can understand why she distracted me the entire movie
i googled her later that night and learned that she’s a 25-year-old juilliard grad who played a supporting role in the express.
also, while doing some background for this entry, i read that she was recently involved in a bit of a controversy. apparently, her role in american violet earned her the AAFCA’s (african-american film critics association) best actress award. but, after hearing about a voting discrepancy (she was given the award despite the fact that precious star gabby sidibe actually finished first on the majority of the ballots), she gave back the award.
anyway, nicole beharie is just one example of the numerous super sistas who are doing their thing on a national scale, despite the fact that they’re not household names…yet.
here’s four more:
although she doesn’t have the immediate name recognition of a nikki giovanni or even a jessica care moore, ikpi’s an unquestioned superstar in spoken-word circles.
i’d write more about her, but, because i don’t want to make my girlfriend even more upset with me than she already probably will be after reading my first couple paragraphs today, i’m just going to point you here.
an espn.com columnist, hill holds her own in an industry dominated by white males, and manages to keep a confident and informed perspective despite the avalanche of racist and negative attention she receives (just google “jemele hill” and “racist” and see what pops up)
and, although i don’t know if you can call someone who works for the worldwide leader in sports “under the radar”, i’m including her because i’m sure a sizable percentage of our audience still has no idea who she is.
mia b. love
while being the state of utah’s first black mayor is definitely impressive, love also holds the distinction of being the first black female elected anywhere despite having a strokers stripper’s name, an extremely difficult feat worthy of a spot on this list.
let me put it this way. i’ve spoken ad nauseum about my love for the broke diaries, how “scrubs” (a show she writes for and co-produces) might be my third favorite comedy series ever, and how okayplayer.com (the website she co-founded) is the best possible place to pick up educated black freaks.
but, to get a true idea of how much i admire her, know that my dream vsb podcast guest list looks like this
1. patrice o’neal
3. chuck klosterman
4. angela nissel
anyway, i’m sure i’m leaving out hundreds of names. are there any other super (and somewhat under the national radar) sistas (or brothas) you want to give some love to today?