Friday, May 28, 2004

She Don't Love Herself

Since recent events have pushed race to the forefront of my mind, I started thinking about race in Hollywood. For whatever reason, I tried to name ten young black actresses with legitimate careers. I came up with Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Gabrielle Union, Nia Long, Vivica A. Fox, Maya Rudolph, Vanessa Williams and Lisa from "Saved by the Bell."

But...

Halle Berry is half-black, however. So are Maya Rudolph and Vanessa Williams. And Beyonce and Queen Latifah got into acting after they'd already astablished careers in music, where the racial distribution is a little more even than in acting. And whether Lark Voorhies' career is iffy at best. I could think of actresses who were recently but no longer famous — Lisa Bonet, Stacey Dash, Brandy — and some more who are "of a certain age" — Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson — and dead ones like Dorothy Dandridge. But that's it.

So if someone like me, who commits famous names to memory as if they were important, can't think of ten solid names, then I doubt most people could. Which sucks — and not just for black actresses.

(Conversely, if I tried to name ten white actresses with legitimate acting careers, I could do so without pausing: Mena Suvari, Mira Sorvino, Milla Jovovich. Oh, you know the rest.)

And I'll bet a lot of people never stop and think about how peculiar it is that Lucy Liu is the only Asian-American actor or actress to host "Saturday Night Live."

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