The always vocal and unabashed Whoopi Goldberg had a hot take on cutting racist scenes from movies: “It’s ridiculous!” Some scenes are overtly bigoted or pose a historical point-of-view in Antebellum days. Either way, Whoopi Goldberg is not down with the revisionist editing in movies, as she shared with Deadline.
It’s the 30th anniversary of her Oscar-winning role in the notable Ghost. The movie also stars Demi Moore and the late, great Patrick Swayze.
Whoopi Goldberg left her typical hot seat from ABC’s The View and was promoting the anniversary Blu-Ray. So, she’s hitting the virtual road for a press junket.
A few weeks ago, we covered Gone With the Wind being caught in an imbroglio with HBO Max. In short, WarnerMedia wanted an African-American scholar to help set the stage for the racial tensions in the film. You know, during the Civil War era.
Many believed it was PC or stupid that some streamers couldn’t get over historical accuracy. In a day when their subscribers are flooded with news about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, they wanted to do something. Subsequently, HBO Max created an introduction of a black American scholar setting the stage. Now, one of AFI’s top five movies in cinematic history was placed back on the channel.
To wit, Whoopi Goldberg had this to say:
You know, keep it what it was. It’s not going to change. You can’t cut the scene. It’s ridiculous, you know? You say, ‘this is what it was.’ There’s a lot of stuff that’s to explain why this was the prevailing attitude, but you have to give people context.Whoopi Goldberg via Deadline
Whoopi Goldberg is Right
With respect to the global Black Lives Matter movement, many entertainment studios have been pilfering through catalogs on movies and TV shows with either unwarranted or offensive scenes that shows racism. Scenes in movies that may not be readily understood was the focus.
For example, if you’re watching Glory, Tri-Star isn’t removing the climatic scene of Denzel Washington and that tear riddled speech with the pain of his ancestors. They mean like scenes in the aforementioned Gone With the Wind that show a black woman (Hattie McDaniel) waiting on a white woman of privilege (Vivian Leigh). That, and the image above, may be confusing to someone who doesn’t understand the nuances of slavery or “the help.”
This progress in Hollywood has impacted unassuming areas too, like a scene in The Golden Girls showing Rose and Blanche wearing mud masks (pictured). Since that could be misconstrued as “blackface,” it was removed where the sitcom was syndicated.
Another reference of this scene-sensitivity was found in the UK with the acclaimed series Fawlty Towers. Similar to Gone With the Wind, preliminary guidance was added following what the BBC called “out-of-date war references.
It’s ironic that Whoopi Goldberg was brought into this fray because she’s only the second black woman to win an Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actress,’ as she did for her role as the mouthy and self-skeptical clairvoyant, Oda Mae Brown. The first to win was Hattie McDaniel in 1940.
McDaniel won that award because she brilliantly depicted what a woman that looked like her experienced in that era wrought with bigotry and indentured servitude. Remove her from the movie, or even references to where McDaniel connected her experiences, and Gone With the Wind is simply…gone.
That’s the context Whoopi Goldberg discusses. Education is the key to correcting the past, not erasing it. Removing those scenes simply eradicate a chance to educate people who have questions instead of removing the chance to ask them in the first place:
I think in a world where context is an art form now because people don’t really recognize the reason for it, if you know why it’s happened that way, then you don’t make it happen again that way.WHOOPI GOLDBERG VIA DEADLINE
Past, Present, Future
Let’s be clear about one thing right here: If you are down with the Black Lives Matter movement and thoroughly believe change must be made (and if you don’t, just leave), see this TV series! Roots was made in 1977 and it was absolutely life-changing. Not only did it impact those who saw it, but those who starred in it.
This TV series depicted life for black people in America from 1750 to 1860. It is visceral, brutal, and everything you need to know about the past to equip you to discuss the future.
In fact, Leslie Uggams (‘Kizzy’) said the black actors so thoroughly connected with their characters, in such a visceral way that most of them were not acting at all. She believed they literally felt as though they were possessed by the spirit of their ancestors. Yes, this TV series is that powerful.
Now imagine living in a world where this TV series didn’t exist because it reflects “out-of-date racial overtones”. We need this kind of education in our face to show us why bigotry is so vile and crooked!
Change must be made and we’re on the way to making it, but erasing history is not necessarily the way. Erasing facets that brag on that history? Bring down those monuments. But to remove art and culture because it may offend someone who hasn’t done their homework? No.
We want everybody to calm down. You can’t fix it all at one time. It’s going to take a while, and the key, I think, for everyone to remember is: Whenever we talk about it, we have to talk about it as it was, as it is now, and how it will be. You know, you have to look forward to the change that’s coming, and cop to the fact that it’s slow.WHOOPI GOLDBERG VIA DEADLINE
Again, she’s right and those words needed to be said because there are some things that just need to be seen. Learn people, then change.