For my critical research project I wanted to find out if black female actresses have become more successful since the 1960’s. Because I found that it is a highly debated topic, and that I could use many different forms of primary and secondary research My first objective was to narrow my question “have black women become more successful since the 1960’s civil rights movements” reason for the was because there are so many ways of measuring successfulness and this made the question a bit to broad, so I decided to break down the terms of success down to three subheading by witch I would I can determine success.And they were, what roles do they get? , the awards (merit) received and how they are compared to black males in Hollywood. i also desided to look at my topic in two ways, 1. looking at black women in general, and 2. comparing Hattie McDaniel’s, Whoopi Goldberg, and Halle Barry, because I felt it would give me a perspective on how things changed over the years. After narrowing my topic down, I read a chapter 19 of bell hooks ‘reel to real: race, sex drugs at the movies’ just to get me started.
he book Was about their view on black acting and a lot of that she said suggested that holly wood does not take black women seriously. bell hooks – “no one says watch bodyguard because Whitney Huston is a good actress.We go to see what the musical icon does in the movie. ” A statement I found somewhat true made me question thing.
This lead me to want to find out just to what extent some of the thing she was saying was true. because the book was relitivly up to date it was a great source, even though the chapter lay out was a bit odd because it was set up like a conversation between bell hooks and Marie- France it gave me a great starting point. I then drew up a questionnaire that had questions that somewhat related to my three subheadings and what bell hooks was saying like “why do you watch a movie that has a successful singer like Whitney Houston in the bodyguard? ” where I got a range of answers many similar answers to what Bell Hooks argued.The reason I did the questionnaire what because I wanted to see what different people thought, questionnaire are always a quick easy way to gather information even though analyzing it to make it representative was hard. and not easy to do with qualitative date because it can easily be miss interrelated. The questionnaire was done on a small scale and I really thought that I was still lacking information.
so I decided to use to more forms of primary research to she what else I could dig up.Firstly I did a YouTube video, the good thing about youtube is that its connected to so many people all around the world so I was hoping to get a much broader perspective. Only problem was because my youtube channel was not known and the only way most people get comments and other video responses is if they already have a few people watching the channel and I had none. So as a result I got one response form some one who said “there is still a long way for black women to go in Hollywood, despite the change that has happened.The failer then brought me to the idea of using ‘Facebook’ another networking tool where many people have a range of groups and discussions. Facebook groups are great for getting people to debate about all kinds of topics, and that’s why decided after the failed YouTube video, to start my own face book group ‘black actresses in Hollywood debate’ where I got a much bigger response, espically on the subheading of awards. and many suggested they feel that black women are not being taken seriously, a lot of it felt like what Bell Hooks was saying was true.
Pretty similar view came up.It also helped me get answers to my question” what are the first three Hollywood awards you think of” academy award was the most popular. And the reason for wanting to know this is because I felt that there are so many award, so its hard to tell if that really means success so the award people first think of must have some sort of importance because its more popular an well known, when I thought of the first three, I could come up with awards like the Emmy’s, Grammy’s and I did not think of any award that like NAACP image award that Whoopi Goldberg won several times.Because its not as highly publicized. The Facebook group was easy to set up and I feel that because people could do it at home without having someone in their face they gave much more truthful answers. But it was hard to not missintuprate the things people said, yet again, After analyzing my primary reseach I decided to do a bit more secondary research, to see if I could match up some of what I found with what other writers have said.
Also I wanted to go in a bit more depth about things like roles offered, and the comparing to black males.Internet research became my main source of secondary research. Because it easy access to find out things like what roles my three actresses have taken, and what roles they have been awarded for. Also it provided me with newspaper articles that are up to date and pretty recent. An article by Michael Langston Moore really brought the whole comparison between black women into perspective, that black men seem to make it into mainstream Hollywood films much easier then black women. Moores article suggest that the image of black women is perhaps the problem.
Furthermore Hollywood does not want to tap to the real potentioal black women have. and that’s something that I found in my primary research many felt the same way. But this was not the only thing I found other articles said similar thing. Internet research was a great way to investigate the topic however I am aware that anyone could have loaded the articles and the information I gathered especially on Wikipedia where I got a lot of my biographies and filmography information form.