Guest Post: Sassy Best Friend

by Lavern Merriweather

After having the misfortune of sitting through an episode of CBS’s poor woman’s answer to ABC’s “The View” called “The Talk”, I noticed a time old trend that I hate, courtesy of one of the show’s host comedian Sheryl Underwood, and that is the ‘sassy’ best friend.

Apparently any time that the media sets up a group of women, there always has to be that loud, unattractive, dark skinned, overweight black woman who is so much ballsier than the others and will usually make the most obnoxious comments while the others giggle and blush at her naughtiness. Gag me! Granted, they do have a better looking and thinner black woman on the show as well, but she is often overshadowed by the extra mouthy one. It’s not the young, thin or pretty one white male producers want to focus on. It’s the one who best fits their stereotype. Therefore, they continuing to reinforce it, especially when you consider that its predecessor themselves have two sassy black women.

They also have a loud, fat, homely, Italian/Jewish woman, but the difference is that Italian women are still white women. And white women, even the stereotype,s don’t have a long standing history of not having a positive counterpart. Plus, they are looked upon as individuals. Joy Behar can be as stupid and embarrassing as she pleases. Yet, she won’t be seen as the prototype for all Italian women while Whoopi and Sherri Shepard are expected to be a representative of every black woman breathing.

Hell, the sassy black woman trope has been the very bread and butter of reality TV for a while now as anyone who has ever seen so called villain and annoying jackass Omarosa Stallworth can easily attest to. By the way, can somebody please ‘stall’ this fool’s mouth so I don’t ever have to listen to her again? From “Survivor” to “Bad girls Club” there always has to be some extremely overweight black female who is bossy as all get out that complains about everything, like she just stepped of the plane as the Queen of Egypt. And nowhere is this better exemplified than in Holly weird, an industry run by some of the most racist people to walk the Earth. These people spend every waking moment trying to outdo each other on who can be the biggest most bigoted fuckwad.

So, when it comes to black women, we are either invisible to those assholes or are only portrayed as how they imagine us. It’s like a scene right out of that movie “Soul Man” starring C. Thomas Howell and Rae Dawn Chong where when a white girl who likes him invites him over for dinner, all of her family members fantasize that he is their very own personal ideal. And trust me when I say that none of them are very enlightening, particularly the father’s played by Leslie Neilsen.

But, that is how most of them operate, and that’s why I don’t get how a supposedly self-respecting woman like Queen Latifah can whine about ‘bitches and hoes’ then turns right around and plays mammies.

In fact after being the lead in like her first 4 films Whoopi Goldberg’s career then turned into Mammy Inc. Obviously she couldn’t be viewed as the woman in front. So, they relegated her to the back, even giving her an Oscar for her years of servitude.

Many times, these women speak in a way that is so cringeworthy it’s basically unwatchable. I used to boycott the now defunct show “Dark Angel” with Jessica Alba, because I couldn’t take one more second of listening to her black lesbian friend’s goofball slang. Most of the time, after hearing such stupid ridiculous garbage, it became impossible to believe ANY human being would talk like that, especially for a black person who is supposed to be from the hood which – according to them – we all are.

What gets me the most is that you don’t even have to be a woman to play the sassy fat black woman. Both MadTV and SNL crapfests have had their fat black male actors dress up in drag to play neck-rolling and finger-waving black women which were not only excruciatingly unfunny but ridiculous and offensive not just because of their portrayals but because of how downright moronic that they looked. Yet, try telling that to blowhard Martin Lawrence who insists that the public is just as in love with his asinine ‘Big Momma’ character as he is. His brain must still be in coma mode if he believes that mess. I wasn’t that entertained with the first movie. So, I damn sure won’t be jumping for joy with the 8th one. If that’s the case, he might as well bring back ‘Sheneneh’. Then again, maybe not and maybe Hollowood needs to get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that 1942 is over.

I remember an interview with a white male producer from the 30’s to the 60’s who confirmed my long standing suspicion that the movie casting in those days was not a coincidence. He said that the reason why the black actresses back then were always fat, not pretty, dark skinned and older was so that they couldn’t be competition for the white women. That pretty much explains why you never saw Lena Horne share the same screen with Jean Harlow or Greta Garbo. There’s no doubt the classy and glorious Lena would have blown their asses right out of the water. It’s also why – to this day – actresses who resemble Hattie McDaniel can still find work quicker than the ones who look like Dorothy Dandridge or why on the show “Touched by an Angel” the black actress Della Reese was old, fat and not good looking as opposed to her co-star Roma Downey. And why when they did have a black woman, Jasmine Guy, who was young and beautiful on the show she played a villain.

Who says Hollywood isn’t consistent when it comes to being racist, stupid, pathetic little shits, not me.

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16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Sassy Best Friend

  1. I feel you on all of this Laverne. It’s sad but everything you’ve mentioned in this post is true. Hollywood just does’nt want intelligent, articulate, and attractive. But that’s why black writers and the other creative forces need to write stuff just for us. We can’t trust white Hollywood with creating positive images for us. I was so surprised that they would let Sheryl Underwood on a CBS talk show. Sheryl’s humor is very rabald. But I suspect there is something sinster here as well. I was like Arsenio used to say back in the day. Things that make you go…..hmmmm. I wondered what was up with that? Great post.

  2. I just didn’t think Sheryl was polished enough to for Les Moonves’s wife and her social climber set. I feel like they are using Sheryl for laughs. I never thought this was a good thing. I don’t think Sheryl is a dummy, but I guess she needed a paycheck. I think she knows what time it is. Money trumps dignity and respect.

  3. Money trumps dignity and respect. – Mary Burrell

    You are correct regarding this statement Mary. A great example this is the 2001 movie Monster’s Ball starring Halle Berry, P. Diddy and Bob Thornton. To me and many other friends of mine thought this crappy movie was actually a soft porn film. Angel Bassett and Vanessa Williams were given the opportunity to play the role that Halle played in the movie but refused the offer. After Halle won the Academy Award for best female actress, Bassett was asked if she regretted turning down the role. Her exact words were, “No, because the role was a stereotypical and demeaning role”. In this instance, Ms. Bassett and Ms. Williams preferred dignity and respect over money.

  4. @Laverne,

    This is a great post Laverne! Hollywood has changed very little since its founding. The only difference between contemporary movie capitol and Hollywood of the 1940’s, is that they’ve moved from blatant to subtle racism. It’s sad to see today’s highly intelligent Black actors and actresses fall for this same old tired trick of Hollywood all because of money it seems.

    It seems that the demeaning roles roles are in fact designed to implant within the subconscious of minorities, especially Blacks, that your space and roles within movies and life are limited. This true even more so for young people of color. If all they see are essentially negative images rgarding who and what you could be all your life, indeed takes its toll at some point. This is even more true when a young Black males don’t have a positive adult frame of reference to emulate.

  5. The same stereotypes are not in Hollywood only but pretty much every where. I can assure you. I work in corporate- and noticed that the ‘White’, ‘Asian’ and ‘Hispanic’ women only hang out with the over weight, unattractive, hairweave wearing, loud ‘Black Women’. I am short, petite, long black hair, brown complexion, easy going personality- with all that said… my point is they never talk to me. I never become the good or best friend. To make matters worse… we have a ‘White Guy’ that acts and want to be ‘Gangsta’. It’s obvious that he has never been around black people ever. Yet still he thinks acting gangsta and taking ridicously loud is portraying the ‘Black Race’.

  6. I don’t trust too any people writing parts for Black women, not even Black People. Black Men like to cast Black Women as broken or slutty victims for a black man to rescue. Black women like pain porn but at least there will be some dimension. Sad part? When black women write the most complex, multi-dimensional roles those are the ones most critiqued. I’d prefer to see Black women writing for Black women. When they don’t they’ll end of playing roles that make other groups feel good about themselves-in other words a Mammy of some kind,

  7. Right on, and right on! I really love the way you covered so many of these very important elements that make for why it is sO irritating to watch many films (tv shows, dramas, etc,) that depict POC in the same ole’ tired azz, played-out ways. I just wanna throw uP in my mouth when I see portrayals of women like that, especially when they show the overweight, loud, and oftentime unattractive Black women like that (and let’s not forget the “Loud Latinas”, and “Boring Asians” with no solid opinions of their own), as well! Great work, Brothawolf!! : )

    1. And if it’s not ‘boring’ Asians then it’s the very bossy Asian woman who likes to holler at everybody for no reason.

  8. I wonder.People that doesn’t have personality or special traits. Would copy fav characters from tv to fit into something.No black or asian person wouldn’t born to become a stereotype from white imagination or comfort the privilege ones.Society,lifestyle or system could design and form an innocence mind into a walking stereotype.There’s always two-side of the coin:If the big girl is sweet and quiet(Mammy).If the big girl is mean and loud(Sassy). It depends on beholder and meaning for their existence

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