Why Is Everyone So Mad At “The Help?”

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    Ever since the opening date was announced for the movie, The Help, critics have been attacking the movie before it even hit theatres.

    Ever since the opening date was announced for the movie, The Help, critics have been attacking the movie before it even hit theatres.

    People have also been attacking the movie without even reading the book. And now with the release of the movie, more criticism is still being offered.  

    After reading the book and seeing the movie, the book is definitely better than the movie. Then again, what book turned into a big screen motion picture is not better?

    Not to discredit the movie because it was a great film. Somehow the book made it interesting to read the dialect between characters with their “southern twang.” Actresses Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer performed phenomenally capturing the essence of the characters.  

    The movie based on the 2009 controversial best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett tells the story of the civil rights movement through the eyes of two African American maids in early 1960s Mississippi. The characters begin their journey by sharing their secrets to a young encouraged writer looking for her break too. Only difference between her struggles of life and journey is the fact she is white. 

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    Most of the outcries and brutal disapproval comes from Stockett being white. Not just Stockett, but the main character Skeeter, the white reporter, exploiting the maids. I have no problem with her telling the story. She is not validating the story, just stimulating conversation and being a catalyst. Others argue the lack of truth to the treatment African American women faced. Of course the movie could have highlighted lynches, beatings and even more unthinkable violent attacks. However, social abuse was a part of that time period which was definitely depicted in the movie. 

    In the author’s reality, a former maid who alleged she inspired the book is suing Stockett. Reports state a real-life woman named Ablene Cooper, who said she works as a maid for Stockett’s brother accuses Stockett of using Cooper’s name and likeness without permission.  So legal woes tend to be another challenge the author faces. Maybe she doesn’t own the story.  

    Does it really bother people that the movie was written by a white author? How much does race have an effect on the writer being able to turn a social injustice into a light-filled comedy movie?

    There is no way to deny the history of oppression Blacks faced in this country. We were mammies, maids, servants, drivers, slaves and even other titles that helped abuse someone’s pride.

    Although, The Help is not the only literary work turned into a movie representing the troubles Blacks faced during, and after, Civil Rights, the lineage of our history in America does not change. Because that is the type of occupations Blacks held. Hollering for more progression in the film won’t stop movies like this from being produced.

    I’m still confused as to why people are pissed at The Help, but it definitely has opened the door to talk about race relations and views of history from the past.

    –Drew-Shane Daniels

    Drew-Shane Daniels is a Philadelphia based writer maneuvering through life and graduate school. He’s the creative genius behind the project www.heardhimsay.com, his daily blog where he offers his two cents on lifestyle, sexuality and pop culture issues. His work has been featured on Soul Train, Clutch Magazine, Krave Magazine, theFreshXpress and BET.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @drewshane.

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