Tonight I want to talk about role models.
With the “collapse of Hollywood” amongst the sex scandals, it’s occurred to me that I’ve placed a HUGE amount of heroism and idolism into mere humans, who I once used to see as so much more than humans: Alfred Hitchcock was the reason I decided to study film, and why I place so much value in it as an artform, even to this day. Orson Welles, David Lynch, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola….
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to take notice of women in Hollywood, and I suppose this was because previously, I had been looking for a father-figure – somebody to look up to.
My sister and I found that in the actor Tom Hanks. Even in his younger roles like Big and Bachelor Party, we still saw the “dad” we needed in him, and the older he got, the more drawn we were to him. It never seemed to occur to us that we were drawn to his characters and not him as a person. However, the way he handled the difficult situation with his son Colin only fuelled the fantasy, and again it never occurred to me that this might have all been a PR spin in order to protect his reputation.
So imagine my heartbreak when I saw Tom Hanks’ name trending on Twitter alongside Matt Damon’s earlier a couple of weeks ago. We all know how Matt Damon feels about sexual harassment, so when I saw that name trending, my heart immediately sank because I knew that it couldn’t be good news… and it wasn’t.
I found a link of Tom Hanks being interviewed on CNN (which appears to have been removed now), “mansplaining” assault, and claiming to not have known anything about Weinstein’s alleged behaviour, however the way in which he places emphasises on the word “alleged” is incredibly shady. In another interview for the Metro newspaper, he then criticises Netflix’s decision to drop Kevin Spacey and claims that the company will go bust if they continue to act upon accusations.
My partner and I have spoken about the fact that I place too high expectations upon people, that I expect people to be perfect, which is why I’m always let down. But I constantly dispute this.
I just expect people to have fucking morals, and to treat people the way that they would expect to be treated.
And I also place my trust in the wrong people…. Parents…. Siblings….. Male celebrities…..Maybe just the human race in general….
However, if you place your trust in the right people, you can then trust yourself and your own judgement. This is partly what your formation years are for, and how you then become a “mentally stable adult” who perhaps doesn’t place their trust in arsehole rapist sexual predator men, but in themselves.
Now if you look at my Twitter account, it’s full of Females, not only because I’m gay, but also because when you support the right people, you get “fed the right food”…
Ava DuVernay – Black, female director and activist who is incredibly artistic and has the biggest heart for Black females. I look up to her like the big sister I never had.
Kelechi Okafor – Black, female actress and founder of her own Fitness Studio, who daily inspires me with her activism. I actually discovered her when I was first suspended and would just spend my days stalking her on Twitter (LOL). I eventually got to meet her at the end of the summer, to tell her what a profound effect she’d had on mental health. She also taught me to speak up for myself; after spending nine months in an institution, surrounded by white people where I was forced to keep silent, I’d lost my voice and Kelechi’s tweets taught me how to speak again.
Tobi Oredein – Black, female journalist, who created Black Ballad as a platform for talented Black journalists to be published and be paid for it. I’d never seen this before I encountered Tobi on social media. And to know Tobi, is to understand her passion for Black, talented people and their struggle in the creative world, because it’s a fucking struggle to be heard. Black Ballad is so beautiful and full of such inspiration.
Izin Akhabau – Black, female journalist and was the youngest ever reporter for BBC News. Izin has been by my side virtually all summer. At first, we became connected because she wanted me to write a piece for her, however we became close during my mental breakdown and she came through for me BIG TIME. She’s also writes for Black Ballad and is starting her own online platform, so keep your eyes peeled.
Terry Crews – actor and recent activist for sexual harassment in Hollywood. I’m so glad I no longer know him from just being this dude from the “White Chicks” movie (which is awful by the way, don’t even get me started), to being the Big Black Man who started a wave in Hollywood. LEGEND.
All of these people in their own ways, have taught me to be myself.
I made a decision that I was going to subscribe to a magazine, and after “shopping around” for a few months, I made the decision to go with Pride and I’m so happy I did: their features on hair, music (I have a new separate playlist just from new acts I’ve discovered from Pride Magazine alone!), current Black culture etc is so fulfilling.
It’s great to just read in the bath when I need a break from social media, Netflix or studying.
It’s funny, I was talking to my best friend about the “Tom Hanks situation” and it seems I’m not the only person within the Black community to be disappointed in him and it’s because we gave him a seat at the table, as an honorary black man, which is so true. My sister and I definitely used to see him as black dad. But in retrospect, how could we all have been so foolish? He could never empathise with us as a “dad” if he’s not the same skin colour – it’s sad but it’s true.
When I messaged Tobi an appreciation message before the end of the year, in her reply she explained that Black Ballad had come from a time of brokenness for her, where she herself had lost dreams and friends, and this came from a place where she could empathise with my struggle because as a young Black female, she knows what it’s like to be hurt over and over again, not only by the people you look up to, but also by the people you trust.