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Friday, June 29, 2007

Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl

I am writing this post due to some frustration and resentment I feel at Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Mariane Pearl in the film, A Mighty Heart. As a Black woman, it bothers me. Mariane Pearl is described as being half Dutch/half Afro-Cuban. I would argue that most people in American society, certainly myself, would identify her as being Black also. There are arguments that she is "bi-racial". I think that's fine, but it still usually equates to being identified with as Black. I am multi-racial (like most Black people). So, to me, that argument is faulty.

The curls and brown skin added to Jolie really irritate me. As a curly girl for life, I can not accurately express what it is like to have untamed corkscrews on your head. No matter how eloquent my explanation, you would know what it was like unless you had them yourself, naturally for a period of time in a Western society. As a child, you would not know the pain of having other girls whose parents use carcinogenic chemicals to straighten their hair calling you "not really Black" or a "fake Shaka Khan" as they exclude you from their circle. You would not know how someone with a heavy hand or hot comb could bring tears to your eyes or burns to your neck, forehead, and ears. And then, there is the brown skin. Although it's something that I have learned to be proud of, countless times it has proven to be an inconvenient, label having nothing to do with my personality, interests, or background. Really, how can Jolie as a White woman not only understand but empathize enough to be a Black woman, if only for the brevity of a role?

Furthermore, I feel Jolie playing the role could not accurately represent the loving, interracial relationship she seemed to have with her deceased partner. How can she portray a Black woman in an interracial relationship as well as a Black woman (also a good actress) could? Then again, there are countless Black actresses that could have portrayed the role from A-lister's to upcoming actresses just waiting for there big break. It would have been so much better, if after viewing this movie, I could have said how great X actress was at this portrayal. But that's not the case. Jolie's performance was solid but not great. I feel there were opportunities she missed to accurately portray Mariane Pearl. I can't help but wonder if the actress was truly Black,would those opportunities be missed. Please comment; I grow from your feedback.


Shavonne said...

Labeling Mariane Pearl as black is inappropriate. As you stated, Mariane Pearl is Dutch and Afro-Cuban, not just black! I honestly don't think Mariane Pearl considers herself black.

I think the most important opinion on this matter is Mariane Pearl. She had no problem with Angelina Jolie portraying her, and it's the only opinion that matters.

Anonymous said...

Angelina's mom is native american indian.She is also mixed race and not 100% white

Naturally Sophia said...

Hi Shavonne! I have to disagree with you on 2 things. Nearly all black people in America are mixed. I am. Whether or not I consider myself black or not, America does. And the second thing is every opinion matters (especially on my blog) at least to me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!