Your Friendly Black Sidekick

The Cut


Pay nba parker. I'm a producer here at the cut. But before this humble brag i was a film professor. And i obsessed about every minute beautiful and infuriating thing in film and television to be fair. I still do so. I was recently watching. The netflix. miniseries the queen's gambit because as a former chess club kid. I expected it to be my jam. So i was overjoyed and then befuddled to see the character. Joe lean the protagonists childhood. Bff from the orphanage and black girl. Savior extraordinaire whose entire purpose is to be labeled as difficult while sacrificing huge parts of herself so that the porcelain white girl can play chess and it felt all too familiar to me. It reminded me of this film. I loved as a kid called a little princess dealer. Decent thought i would die till i heard you talk about the magic. I grew up faithfully watching the one thousand nine hundred five version of a little princess by alphonso croissant about a rich orphaned white girl who ends up being a servant all girls school and spencer evenings in the attic with the orphan servant. A little black girl who shares in her daydreams in fantasies but unlike the queen's gambit for this cold where he comes from in a little princess both girls free themselves together and truly become princesses in lace and curls allow to grow up sisters. But still there is this disconnect. The black girls still feels like the friend on the sidelines. Even if she's spunky and nothing awful or bad happens to her. This was the case with a lot of the movies. I grew up on. They all had interruptions of the sweet black sidekick there was also lavender the best friend matilda. It's much better than being out there. And jesse in the babysitters club really an idea might be brilliant. And the most classic example for black kids of the ninety s was a grown man. Lavar burton as star trek. The next generation sweet brainy sidekick jordi la forge computer as we increased our power levels. Was there any counterreaction. Affirmative him but listen. I'm not here to complain. I'm just sort of navigating my way. Through this trope. It is not entirely a bad thing at all as a brainy spunky little black kid i loved these characters. I mean. I needed them. One of the first things. I noticed about the next generation is that they have shorty fords. I remember as a little girl. I had like a brown suede hip band. And i used to put it over my eyes. So i could be jordan forge. George soros outspoken introverted. He makes amazing friends. Went the android on this. And i was like. This guy is still gave the nerve babies though cool that is none other than the actress. Zelda harris. When she was ten years old she played one of these classic sidekick characters jesse the only black babysitter in the baby sitters club. I did not grow up reading the baby sitters club books. I read every single one of those books. Jesse was a dancer who always related to her kids. She learned sign language for one of the kids. She babysat and taught dance. Moves and the film adaptation of the baby sitters club was totally formative for me growing up. Zelda definitely plays the sidekick the supporting role to a host of white girls but she also stole scenes left and right dropping like flies. She kinda had to that was what she was given to work with. Not just in the sitters club but in every role she dishes for. I would be bassey token friend but not necessarily get to read for the lead over and over again. Zelda would hit this wall. She knew her potential by casting directors saw her as the bouncy token friend it starts to wear on you as a kid because you have the power nation. You're working in an industry that can make anything happen. You got competence muppets. Cgi and all this stuff going on who still getting very consistent. Message that you're here to support and so okay Yeah the cameras going to be. Set up right here. You're gonna stand on the side. I'm not sure if you're gonna be in this shot. Whoa having mechanic realization was intense. This realization was extra intense for zelda. Because she knew it didn't have to be this way. She started her acting career in the leading role. Her very first film was spike. Lee's crooked where she starred as troy maybe other people with mommy and scream and yell at you can't do. It wasn't all inclusive set with women and people of color where she had the starring role in black and brown film.

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