You know when you’re watching a competition on TV and you arbitrarily decide who to root for? Maybe it’s the only woman, or the hot dude, or the underdog, or the cute, butch lesbian that reminds you of one of your homegirls. Well, I do that too during award season: I’m always rooting for the black chick, but my rationale isn’t so arbitrary.
There usually isn’t much conflict when it comes to rooting for black actresses during the Golden Globes or the Oscars because, as usual, there usually isn’t more than one of them nominated in a given category in the first place. I mean, let’s not get crazy here, it’s only 2014. So when I tune in on Sunday night for the Golden Globes, you best believe that I’ll be rooting for Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress. Yes, I’ll be keyboard smashing up my Twitter feed and clogging my Tumblr with reblogs of Nyong’o’s upsettingly beautiful face.
I suppose some of you are already thinking, “WELL WHAT IF I JUST ROOTED FOR THE WHITE ACTRESSES, YOU REVERSE RACIST?” and you’re already wondering what Martin Luther King Jr. quote to support your argument. Don’t strain yourself or waste your Google power on me. I don’t feel guilty and I don’t believe that I’m being unfair either.
Let’s be real: white people have been the face of these award shows and Hollywood as a whole from the jump. So when someone black—or anyone non-white—has a chance of snagging one of these awards, it’s a big fucking deal. When a black woman wins one of these honors, her success isn’t just her own; it’s a victory shared by every black woman watching and every little black girl who dreams of diving into this cutthroat industry. It means more than acknowledging an amazing performance, it means being an inspiration for a group that is severely underrepresented in television and film.
Don’t get it twisted, because I’m all about people winning based on merit. Nyong’o will be up against some seriously talented actresses and some Hollywood darlings. But I already know that Nyong’o is talented, so I’m having a tough time feeling guilty about rooting for her because of her blackness as well when black eligibility for these awards seems to come around once every blue moon.
The fact is that I want more black people, especially black women, out there winning in this lily white industry. I want Viola Davis to snatch awards and take names (I’m still mad about her losing to Meryl Streep in 2012). I want Quvenzhane Wallis to dominate these award shows left and right in a few years. And on Sunday, I want Nyong’o to win Best Supporting Actress and make Jennifer Lawrence fans cry, sparking an Internet bloodbath that’ll produce so many memes it’ll make my head spin. Is that too much to ask for?
Representation is a beautiful thing and the more black faces I see up on that stage holding back tears of joy from a major win, the better. I’m rooting for the black chick because if I don’t, who the hell will? Seriously, who? The straight, male, white Hollywood establishment? They don’t even like Leonardo DiCaprio, so why should I trust them if they can’t even seem to stand some of their own?
If I’m being a big ol’ reverse racist on Sunday night, so be it. There’s no shame in my game. My game is only about righteous anger and making JLaw fans squirm.