By Norm Bond
OK, so I got pulled into watching the latest installment of HBO’s “award winning” original series True Blood featuring Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and her pals in the town of Bon Temps. The series was created and produced by Alan Ball and is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, detailing the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional, small town in the state of Louisiana. This episode was titled “Let’s Get Out of Here“. In hindsight I guess I should have followed those instructions.
As an African American man, I avoid most television because it’s laced with subliminal racism, buffoonery and is not remotely reflective of the diversity within the Black community. However since this show blows up twitter, has won several Golden Globes and Emmy’s, and has been “critically acclaimed” I figured I’d see what the hysteria is all about.
It turns out that the only “Black male” character on the show is ” Lafayette” (Nelsan Ellis). I say male, but Ellis’ character is a finger nails painted, eyebrows arched, make-up wearing, Aunt Jemima-style bandana on the head, mid-riff exposed, tee-shirt wearing, flamingly gay — Black man. Did I say the show was “award winning”?
Anyhoo, it seems in this episode his body has been possessed by the spirit of a deceased Black woman named “Mavis” who was apparently killed along with her infant baby by her lover — a white man years earlier. Her soul hasn’t made peace, so in the present day she has snatched up the infant of the couple that currently resides in the home, mistakenly believing he is “her baby.”
When Mavis’ spirit seizes control of Lafayette’s body he (she?) becomes even more flaming, kidnaps the baby, grabs a gun, and threatens to shoot up the town sheriff, deputy, the actual parents of the baby, and La-dee-da-dee EVERYBODY!
Thankfully Lafayette’s gay Latino boyfriend “Jesus” (Kevin Alejandro) [I’m not making this up] has the “healing hand” and is able to communicate with Mavis. He explains to her that she was killed, is inhabiting Lafayette’s body, and digs up the bodies of both her baby and she in the front yard of the home.
Now comes the kicker. Mavis now has “her baby” (dead) securely in her arms and is smiling and singing for joy. Jesus tells Mavis he needs “his Lafayette back”. He lays hands on her and chants, and in a dramatic scene, Mavis’ spirit is seen rising and exiting the body of Lafayette.
But when the now free and airborne spirit of this Black woman, Mavis, turns to Lafayette and says “thank you” for the help in finding my baby, what do you think he says in response? This Negro says to her, “You got it bitch”.
Now I was too through! Apparently this depiction is a writers call because in the actual book series, Lafayette does not go around calling every Black woman a bitch. On that note I’m curious as to how many Blacks are even working as writers for this show?
As we’ve seen with the recent marketing incidents involving Nivea and Cadburys, too often companies turn offensive and even racist imagery into an art form. When Blacks shine a spotlight on it, sometimes the company issues “an apology”. But at bottom, these policies and practices remain intact and before long, we’re at the next insulting instance.
I guess I should have been blogging.