Five Black Women Discuss “Precious”

The radio show earlier today about Precious was powerful. Esther Armah said that the calls and emails came in ALL DAY!! I posted bits and pieces on my Facebook wall. Pure fire!

The women on the panel broke down the movie with such great precision. I was honored to be a part of the discussion. I made my point about Lee Daniels being twisted. Stacey bought it home later when she said, with such simple passion: “There’s something wrong with Lee Daniels!” Classic! Akiba’s handling of the film and the story was brilliantly compassionate and very intelligent. Nikki kicked off a firestorm at the end when she said (and I’m paraphrasing): Movies are for entertainment. I go to the church or somewhere else if I want inspiration, etc. Oooooo-weeee! She almost got pounced, LOL! but the show was over at that point.

I love it when we can talk, build, disagree strongly, and still be okay with one another. You have to listen for yourself. Check the archive for the show (all shows on WBAI are available for download about 15 minutes after airing). Get the download at

Shout out to Esther, Stacey, Nikki, and Akiba! Great to share the airwaves with you!

Here are a few of my after-points:

1. I have always maintained that everyone is naturally creative, but not everyone is a talented artist. And Toni Blackman taught me this: There is a difference between being an artist and being an entertainer. There is nothing entertaining about sexual abuse, rape, incest, teenage pregnancy, etc. Movies can not be seen merely as a tool for entertainment. They have power and they have long lasting (and sometimes irreversible) impact on how we think, how we view the world, who we want to be when we grow up, and so on.

4. If you know me at all, then perhaps you have heard me talk about what I first learned as a student at Howard University, the place where I matured as a Black woman thinker and activist: We do not yet live in a world where we have the luxury of creating “art for art’s sake.” All art is political. Also, the clash between art and commerce is as universal as it is old. By default, when art becomes mass produced and commercially distributed, it often sacrifices some of it soul. Precious the film (not the story it seeks to tell…there’s a difference) sacrifices a lot in order to get to the screen, I believe…at our collective expense.

More to come.