Happy Women’s History Month!
It was a smooth transition from Black History Month (2018 Black Panther) to Women’s History Month (2018 A Wrinkle in Time), in terms of American cinema, so be sure to check out both films that incorporate women of a variety of ages, occupations, and, yes, nationalities.
The first day of the month also featured a pretty powerful crossover between Shonda Rhimes’s created shows, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. The first half (the Scandal hour) is where Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) butt heads and acknowledge the levels of privilege (and even colorism) that exist within the black community, especially among black women. (The setting of a hair salon is important, trust me.)
The second half of the special (How To Get Away with Murder) shows Viola Davis orating one of the best monologues of her career as her character, Annalise Keating, presents to the Supreme Court about the disproportionately high rates of incarceration of people of color in America, as a “by-product” of the systemic and institutional racism that never went away with the passing of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution.
What a way to start Women’s History Month (which, yes, does include black women)!
On March 9, A Wrinkle in Time (2018) released into American theaters. Directed by the Queen Sugar-genius, Ava Duvernay, the movie is adapted from the 1962 book by Madeleine L’Engle, and stars women such as Oprah Winfrey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and newcomer, Storm Reid. I won’t review this book-to-movie adaptation (which I finished re-reading the morning I saw the movie) because I’m sure there is no shortage of reviews of this blockbuster film.
I will note how much I appreciated Reid’s portrayal of Meg Murray. In these first few months of 2018, we’ve been blessed with creations that show what it’s like to be a black child who has lost a parent through maybe losing their way (*Black Panther spoiler* Erik Killmonger), to an institutional system that was always against them (How To Get Away with Murder, Nate Lahey), or to progress but forgetting the effects on the family left behind (A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murray). In A Wrinkle in Time, there were two moments that particularly struck me (spoilers ahead):
When asked by her principal what would happen if her father did come back, Meg said quietly, “Everything would make sense again,” which shows how big an effect the presence of one person has on our lives, especially when their absence is clearly noted by all members of the community and the media that depict families that are whole, that convey See? This is what a family looks like. This is what happiness looks like.
The second moment is towards the end of the movie when Meg admits in a loud and clear voice, “You know, most days I hate myself.” But then goes on to say she can get past it because she knows that her family, especially her brother, Charles Wallace, loves her in spite of (and sometimes because of) her faults.
It was a jarring yet cathartic moment to see someone admit that their faults, especially in a time (and culture) where women are supposed to love everything about themselves and radiate this positive self-esteem every hour of everyday. And the moment debunked the popular notion that you can’t love anyone else unless you love yourself wholly first. What nonsense! Sometimes the path to loving yourself is reinforced by someone else showing their unconditional love for you by example.
A common theme among these stories of women is the combination of strength and love, something the world often forgets can exist (and should exist) in tandem.
(Also, what would Women’s History Month be if I didn’t thank my mother for displaying both those qualities seemingly effortlessly? So thanks, Mom!)
What I’m Listening To: Black Panther: The Music from and Inspired By curated by Kendrick Lamar. I’m the first to admit that I’m not terribly well-versed in hip-hop. That said, you can definitely find something to love on this album (if not every track) because Lamar does a fantastic job with the collaborations, connecting the music and even the lyrics with the sound design and plot and characters from the movie. (My favorite tracks are “Bloody Waters,” “Opps,” “Redemption,” and of course,” and “All the Stars” (because I’m just a little bit basic and the lyric “Corrupt a man’s heart with a gift/ That’s how you find who you dealing with” just hits too hard).
What I’m Reading: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (see post above) and the second novel by The Martian-author Andy Weir, Artemis.
Artemis is fitting for Women’s History Month since the protagonist is a Saudi Arabian-national woman by the name of Jazz Bashara. Like Mark Watney, Jazz is quick-witted, brilliant in STEM brainstorming, and sarcastic. Unlike Mark, Jazz lives on a society on the moon called Artemis and she is slightly problematic. (I have to admit though, The Martian is funnier, and Weir’s shot at writing a woman seems, at times, misinformed.)
What I’m Watching: A Wrinkle in Time (2018), Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) (yes, more than once, can you blame me?), and Netflix’s Jessica Jones Season Two.