By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid
I guess I’m not the only one who found the solemnity-yet-randomness of the Black History Month Minutes in my youth a tad ridiculous. I understood why the segments were needed and learned a lot from them–and still found my hand in front of my giggling mouth. The comic troupe Elite Delta Force 3 may have felt the same way.
This is their send-up of some of the women–and a couple of the men–who helped shape the civil rights movements in the US and South Africa as well as the foolish tropes of the Real Housewives franchise; the troupe is more directly spoofing Real Housewives of Atlanta. Check out The Real Housewives of Civil Rights (RHOCR).
Yes, that’s Wayne Brady as “The Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King.” Yes, that’s “Coretta Scott King” (Robin Thede) admitting “Malcolm X” fathered the youngest King kid. (As much as we know about Dr. King’s marital infidelities, as far as I know, all King’s children were sired by him.) Yes, that is Marilyn Monroe (Angela Yarborough), who The Root says is supposed to resemble RHOA‘s Kim Zolciak. (Other sources say that Monroe was actually pro-racial equality, so her inclusion has some historical basis.) And yes, that is a rotary car phone.
I’d put this webisode in the same humor section as Black Moses Barbie: both are taking the piss out of the the near-deified images we have of critically beloved Black heroes. Like using Barbie dolls to encapsulate the story of Harriet Tubman, Elite Delta Force uses the “oh no they didn’t” frisson of placing these women and men–often seen as paragons of righteous Black folks who did their damnedest to uplift The Race in their own ways–in situations and saying things that would get their Righteous Black Folks’ Cards yanked. Viewers like me–deeply ingrained with love for what these people did that allowed me, the Altanta housewives, and Elite Delta Force to be here and be our Black female selves in 2011–can both raise our eyebrows and laugh out loud.
Where the troupe goes off-point for me is with Winnie Mandela and Malcolm X. The chracterization doesn’t seem so specifically and historically based on Mandela so much as I got an affable Earth Mother Africa stereotype with a generic “African” accent and generic “African” gear. I felt the same about how El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz is portrayed: I understand that he is a man rendered inelegant due to dealing with the fallout from a tryst with his wife’s friend, but I think it would have been funnier if the actor played with Shabazz’s well-known fiery eloquence, even if he has to Denzel it.
I also know some people are feeling some kind of way about RHOCR, as witnessed in the comment section on YouTube.
while there was some humor; I thought it was in poor taste for the most part. It belittled the true ladies who were in their own right important in the struggle for equal and human rights.
Wow somehow this seems wrong cause its Black History month . Sorry none of it was funny to me . Those people lives has now been rendered a joke . This is a mockery . But you wanna know what’s funny? They suffered gaining us Civil Rights only for somebody to call something like this humor? If white people would have did this I wonder if y’all would be laughing . This is a slap in the face coming from us our pride is gone.
wow ..the late Coretta Scott King is referred to as a b!tch, and a “baby’s Mama”, to someone Martin once was at odds with ..and ya’ll just think we should laugh at it? That’s the problem …blacks folks laugh at a lil’ too much of everythang, and what’s even sadder, is that we’ll laugh along w/ whites at this kinda shit..(people who are just laughing AT us) *smDh*
I can respect that–it seems that we young(er)bloods are laughing at people who died tragic or vicious deaths or are still alive. Our laughter seems to be disrespecting our elders. But it begs a couple of questions: when does it become “safe” to laugh about the ancestors and our own current ridiculousness? Does every conversation about Black heroes have to be a Teaching Moment? Would this be the kind of comedy Dr. King would come back and yell at us for?
I’m not sure. I just plan to keep my hand in front of my mouth.
Image credit: granemporium.com