This morning Roland Martin mentioned the upcoming movie remake of “Annie” based on the 1920s comic strip, Little Orphan Annie. The new movie, produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z has cast the talented black actress, Quvenshanie Wallis, (who starred in Beast of the Southern Wild) as Annie and Jamie Foxx as “Daddy Warbucks” but renamed Benjamin Stacks, a reference to making lots of money. (Daddy Warbucks in the original comic strip and movie was a rich capitalist who took a liking to the orphan Annie.) Anyway, the remake of Annie starring a black cast has, of course, brought out the racists hound-dogs, including one woman who calls herself, “white woman from Pa,” who tweeted something to the effect that Annie is a white girl, not a nappy headed black girl. “ Oh no she didn’t! Turn me loose folks!
Where shall I begin to stomp this bigoted white woman into the ground. Let me start with the recent “Son of God” movie that cast Jesus, once again, as some white, fair-haired, clean shaven, white boy. Did “Ms. Bigot from PA” have a problem with how Hollywood continually cast Jesus as someone who definitely was not white-skinned, did not have blue eyes, probably was not clean shaven, and whose hair was like “lamb’s wool,” according to Biblical scripture? Did “Ms Bigot from PA” have a problem with the artistic remake of the image of Jesus to look Anglo? If not why not? And, since the world has been sold a bill of goods based on a European artistic conceptual mage of Jesus as Anglo, what is Ms. Bigot’s problem with Will Smith and Jay-Z’s artistic remake of Annie as a black girl? Ms. Bigot, why are you now trying to peg yourself to some type of historical accuracy about the remake of Annie, when the very pedestal you are currently perched on is based on the negative, inaccurate, stereotypical portrayal of all other women of the world? You need to check yourself on several fronts including what the original Annie comic strip was all about.
The original comic strip “Annie” debuted on August 5, 1924. Each week, Harold Gray, the comic strip creator, invented adventurous situations for the plucky little girl with a strong right hook and her dog Sandy. But beneath the surface Annie made political commentary about political corruption and corrupt institutions. Daddy Warbucks, the rich benefactor, who took a liking to Annie, was a modern day “1 per center” who nearly had a heart attack with Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected. If there ever was a time for a remake of Annie to reflect the continuing wealth gap in America, a new gilded-age of the privileged few, the current backlash against the poor, the criminalizing of children, the wholesale assault on poor people, the ongoing political corruption that has put the entire American political system up for sale, and the corruption of all American institutions by wealth, the time is now. What we need, Ms. Bigot, is not only a “nappy headed black girl,” to speak truth to power with the remake of Annie, but a remake that addresses the same elitist, political corruption that America faced during the gilded age of the 1920s. My only hope is that none of the political undercurrent of the original Annie comic strip was lost by Will Smith and Jay-Z in remaking and recasting Annie with a black cast.
Remember the original movie The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland? Remember the remake, called “The Wiz” starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell and Lena Horn? It was the black remake of The Wizard of Oz that stole the show. It was black songs such as “Ease on Down the Road, “If You Believe,” “Be a Lion, “ “Believe in Yourself, “ and “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News” that put the umph in what was a tired old story. I suppose Ms. Bigot from Pa is still upset over the remake of the Wizard of Oz to feature a black cast that had black actors strutting their stuff with some definite rhythm and soul down that yellow brick road.
Ms. Bigot, before you open your stupid mouth again and make any reference to a “nappy headed black girl” you need to check out your probably family lineage in the coming years. At the rate that white women are allowing long “black trains to run on their tracks” your grandchildren may well have a head full of glorious, lovely, nappy hair.
Copyright 2014 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.