“What I will say is: What I’ve seen is that folks have the courage to say that. ‘With all due respect, I love this project, I do not think you could be the filmmaker.’ That’s a really powerful thing to say,” the Jurassic World actress, 39, told The Los Angeles Times in an interview published on Wednesday, June 17. “That’s an important stance to take in order to make room for the true authentic storytellers.”
Howard continued, “In this transformation that’s happening, there’s a new freedom of expression. I’m seeing from others — and feeling from myself — that it is less about worrying about offending people and looking within and saying, ‘Why? What really am I scared of, and what is that reinforcing?’ And so I posted [to Instagram about urging others to not watch the movie] and didn’t look back.”
The Help, written and directed by Tate Taylor, is a 2011 race drama based on Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel of the same name. Set in the 1960s, the film follows an aspiring author named Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) as she works on writing a book featuring the point of view of black maids working for white families.
After The Help was added to Netflix amid the nation’s ongoing political unrest, Howard took to Instagram to denounce the film. The Rocketman actress, in turn, suggested other alternatives that are available to stream including Just Mercy and When They See Us.
“I’ve heard that #TheHelp is the most viewed film on @netflix right now! I’m so grateful for the exquisite friendships that came from that film — our bond is something I treasure deeply and will last a lifetime,” she wrote on June 7. “This being said, The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers. We can all go further.”
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times about her Instagram declaration, she explained what prompted her to speak out. “Right now, in this time, stories are going to play a crucial role in our ability to empathize and to be inspired into action. And the storytellers who we must listen to right now and look to and learn from — there’s an extraordinary body of work that centers on Black characters from Black creators,” she explained.
Davis, who received an Oscar nomination for her efforts in The Help, has spoken out against the film on multiple occasions. In a 2018 New York Times profile, the 54-year-old How to Get Away With Murder alum shared her issue with the film being from the perspective of a white woman rather than the black maids.
“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom,” she told the publication. “And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”Listen on Spotify to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news!
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