Okay, I will admit to laughing like hell when I saw this shot of Tyler Perry and the new Academy Award-winning actress, Lupita N’yongo. I’ll also be completely honest and own the fact that I thought the same thing. Nonetheless, I only found the image comical and not a call to arms.
Nooooooo… Run Lupita Run. pic.twitter.com/akTBO5gAt5
— Elnathan John (@elnathan) March 4, 2014
Sure, there is a possibility that Perry may send Lupita’s agent a script that centers on a downtrodden single mother on welfare and Popeye’s two-piece dark meat Tuesday specials ‘cause her deadbeat baby daddy – played by Tyson Beckford – ain’t worth a good damn and it’s only when one of Mary Jane Paul’s boyfriends swoops in with a Bible and a blue collar that she gets to exhale, shoop-shoop. But damn, can we not fixate on that right now? History was just made on Sunday, so why not just rock our hips, then wave and sip in the glory?
I know that in the age of social media, an opinion waits for no man, but I just don’t believe Al Gore invented the Internet for some of your cousins to constantly run amuck over the most inconsequential, completely innocent photo. Why, I do declare that we were lied to, y’all: A picture isn’t always worth a thousand words.
The same goes for your tweets, your Instagram word memes, and your essay-length Facebook status updates.
Seriously, why can’t some of us ever chill?
Even before this photo made its way to the web, I saw a few messages along the lines of:
“What about Kimberly Reece? We let Jasmine Guy still appear on WeTV, but where is the good doctor? That ain’t right!”
I don’t know where she is, but I know I hate tit for tats and false equivalences.
Ditto for this one: “OH, Y’ALL CARE ABOUT LUPITA N’YONGO, BUT WHERE WERE Y’ALL WHEN VIOLA DAVIS POST UP, FLAWLESS! RIDIN’ ROUND IN IT, FLAWLESS! FLOSSIN’ ON THAT, FLAWLESS!!!”
Well, most of us were saying on Oscar night that year, “We love your natural, it looks better than those wigs, sis. We love how built you are. We want you to win even if this sanitized story about segregation makes us want to stab our eyes out with a Black Power Fist Afro Pick.”
Remember, kids: Just because you can’t recall something not happening (given you not bothering to pay attention at the time, usually) doesn’t mean that it didn’t. And do we really need to compare N'yongo to every other dark-skinned actress in Hollywood? Is that really a debate you want to have?
Chill. It hasn't even been a smooth 30 minutes. RT @RonanFarrow: So where'd we land on Hollywood caring about black people?
— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) March 3, 2014
Then there were messages like these from new MSNBC host, Ronan Farrow. Ronan, you may look like Sleeping Beauty’s first husband, but don’t rush, baby, the racism in America ain’t going nowhere. Slow it down.
Mere minutes after N'yongo and 12 Years A Slave took home big honors, snark like this smacked my timeline upside the head.
Bottom line, I wish more of us would learn to better appreciate a moment without dissecting it so intensely literally seconds after it happens. As a person who makes his living as a writer, now more than ever am I and my peers pushed to be react. We’re often told to do so immediately, and occasionally, encouraged to find some sort of “alternative” viewpoint. There is a benefit to that: It can make you quick on your feet and heighten your ability to think critically. That is, if you’re good at what you do.
That said, the downside is that you develop a sourpuss trait. It’s a quality that has since trickled over to everyone else online. While I’m all for dialogue, I hate that so many people now can’t even let a good thing simmer.
So do me a favor:
Watch this speech again. Look at the emotion, pay close attention to the words. Think about the movie and Lupita’s performance. Now smile. Yes, there are some politics involved. Of course, one wonders what will come of Lupita’s career in the long run.
We have all the time in the world to spell doom for her or predict that the universe will be bending over for all eternity. In the meantime, simmer down, y’all. Simmer. This is Lupita’s moment and afterglow. Let her enjoy it. She earned it.