If you are black, “Selma” is more than a movie. “Selma” is your story too. It is your heritage. It is a generational struggle, the suffering of discrimination, the courage to overcome, the hope for a better future.
It is more than a movie.
So when it gets passed over for Oscar nominations, if you are black, the affront feels deep and personal and intentional. It is natural to feel that if you are black.
Because you saw your story.
That’s your perspective. That is the honest to God truth about the way I felt watching that movie. It was not just a MOVIE.
It was a reminder of when I was 10 years old and went to Mississippi with my parents and grandparents and couldn’t get a drink in a clean water fountain at a gas station because it had a sign above it that said “Whites Only” and a nasty, dirty, chipped basin water fountain for me.
How did I know that nasty one was for me? Because the sign above that one said “Coloreds Only”.
It was also a reminder that 50 years later, I am still assumed to be the defendant when I walk into some courtrooms…even though I am an attorney, supposedly with all of the rights and privileges accorded thereto in a courtroom.
It is a reminder that my paternal grandmother (who was VERY VERY fair skinned and “good hair”) passed for white at one time so that she could get a job at a downtown ladies dress shop, and all the Black women in town kept her secret.
It’s MY story.
And the Oscar rejection feels very personal.