No one wants to be sexually harassed in the workplace, but everyone would like to think that they’re worthy of being sexually harassed in the workplace.
When I was sexually harassed at White Castle, back in the mid ‘00s, causing me to walk off the line mid-shift, it was one of the most difficult times in my life, but it was nice to know that someone wanted to take advantage of me.
My concern is that not enough black women are being sexually harassed in the media. In the past few weeks, literally hundreds of women have come forward to allege sexual harassment—and worse—against Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Brett Ratner et alia, and few, if any of them, have been black.
Lupita Nyong'o accused Harvey Weinstein of trying to pull the legendarily effective massage gambit after spotting her in a play while she was still in college, prompting Weinstein to take a break from his one-week stint in Sex Rehab to declare that he would never sexually harass Lupita Nyong'o.
Some of our most astute cultural commentators, including, possibly, people from the since-shuttered Teen Vogue, pointed out that Weinstein never issued individual rebuttals to any of his white alleged victims. This was literally untrue, in much the same way that it’s not true that the RZA waited a year to reveal that Russell Crowe spit on Azealia Banks, but it felt true, which is all that matters.
Why wouldn’t Harvey Weinstein sexually harass Lupita Nyong'o? She’s adorable!
Nyong'o won an Oscar a few years ago, albeit for acting in one of those slave movies. In one of the most memorable scenes (for me personally) from 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor is forced by Michael Fassbender to whip Nyong'o for leaving the plantation to get some soap, thus reinforcing the idea that black men are incapable of, or unwilling to, protect black women.
A few years later, Gabrielle Union’s character in the movie the Birth of a Nation fell victim to what’s known in obscure fan-fiction writing communities as steamy non-con sex. She wasn’t rewarded for her effort with an Oscar in part because Birth of a Nation was blackballed after a false rape accusation against director Nate Parker from the late '90s resurfaced.
Once it was clear that the movie wasn’t going anywhere, Union publicly distanced herself from Nate Parker, despite the fact that he’d been found not-guilty in a court of law, raising the question: Why should black men feel obligated to protect black women, when black women aren’t willing to return the favor?
Gabrielle Union has been cited, in many an asinine think piece, as the second most prominent example of a black actress being sexually harassed, behind (again) Nyong'o, but arguably her incident—a non-acquaitance rape at a Payless Shoes in her teens, back in the late '70s—doesn’t count because it took place long before she was famous.
Union, who has a book to promote, has been making the rounds sharing her story, along with the fact that Dwyane Wade likes to lie on the bed with his legs in the air like Lamborghini doors and have his asshole eaten out with either jelly or syrup. (Publishers will give you a larger advance if you agree to say something sexual about a celebrity.)
To hear black feminists tell it, black actresses are sexually harassed just as often as white actresses, if not more so, but they’ve been reluctant to come forward because people are less likely to believe a black woman, maybe in part because black women have been known to steal. But obviously that’s not true (the part about the harassment).
Most likely, black women aren’t forced to have a seat on the proverbial casting couch as often because there’s less competition for black female roles in films. There aren’t very many black-interest films, and most of them, if you notice, are ensemble pieces with seemingly every black actor there ever was, like a cinematic version of the BET Awards.
You don’t have to try out for a role in, say, the Best Man Holiday; all you have to do is show up. If Maia Campbell could set aside “that narcotic” for long enough to show up on set looking halfway decent, she almost certainly could have had a role. Would she have made very much money? Maybe not, but it’s still a step up from the gospel play circuit, let alone walking a stroll.
There’s only a handful of roles for black actors in prestige films each year, most of which involve either slavery or domestic work for rich white people, and the people who cast for those roles are generally loathe to hire someone with a thick blaccent (which wouldn’t make sense in a period piece). That’s why so many prominent black actors these days are from Europe.
The only way a black woman could be sexually harassed on a film set is if Harvey Weinstein were to produce a black-interest film that was neither lowbrow holiday-themed BS nor slavery-related, and alas, Harvey Weinstein is legally not allowed to produce a film anymore. He might not even be able to shoot pr0n.
Take it easy on yourself,