From Hattie McDaniel sitting at a segregated table at the back of the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, to Lupita Nyong’o being asked about her dress and role on the red carpet, we have come a long way. Hattie McDaniel was the first black actor (male or female) to receive an Oscar for her character, Mammy, in Gone with the Wind. Halle Berry was the first black actress to receive the Oscar for female performance in a leading role. Among these two firsts, there has been Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Hudson, Whoopi Goldberg, and now Lupita Nyong’o.
I look up to these women who have paved the way for future actresses of color to even be recognized at the Academy Awards. Lupita’s speech really spoke to my heart, she said “No matter where you come from your dreams are valid.” Lupita is also the first black actress to win an Oscar that is not born in the US and I’m like woah enhancing that diversity! To think that in 1940 Hattie McDaniel couldn’t even sit amongst all of her peers and now Lupita is giving Ellen her lip bomb, I know that’s trivial, but it makes me grateful, to think that the acting world may actually be a place where I can grow as a black actress. When Halle Berry accepted her award for Monster’s Ball, she didn’t want to let go of that mic and who could blame her! All the years that it too to get this high honor and she won, finally. I am still waiting for the day when Halle Berry will not be the only black actress to win best actress, Lupita gives me hope. Though I feel like we still need a lot of work I am proud of the feats that African Americans have made in this industry, I mean 12 Years a Slave won for best picture, an award that I always believed The Color Purple deserved. I am so happy that a movie that features such contraversial issues is finally at the forefront, a win this community really deserved. So with that being said I cant wait to see the Oscars develop over time!
Quotes From the Acceptance Speeches:
I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry!- HM
Ever since I was a little kid I wanted this! -WP
I gotta take some time, 74 years here!- HB
Thank you, for helping me keep the faith even when I didn’t believe!- JH
I want to thank the academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics!-MH
I share this with everybody!- OS