I tried to stay out of the Rebel Wilson debacle, but after she refused to graciously admit defeat and resorted to issuing a weirdly bogus rebuttal, which created even more drama and expanded her roster of avid challengers — I found myself itching to say a few words.
First off, here’s a brief summary:
Since the theatrical debut of her “rom-com” is almost here, Wilson, who also co-stars in the Pitch Perfect franchise is doing the promotional tour, and it was during an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show that things went left, and it has everything to do with this:
Once that tweet was released to the world, there was an expected uproar on Twitter, as Black women led the charge with swift alerts that rightfully schooled the White woman, who was exhibiting the damning symptoms that expose the infuriating blissfulness of her privilege.
It’s quite understandable how and why an Aussie-born and LA-based White actress would readily assume that she’s making history as the “first-ever plus-sized girl” to be cast in a leading role that features her as the object of desire.
After spending considerable time in La La Land, I became quite aware of how the city that hosts the industry, is anything but diverse, and the regulated segregation extends into Hollywood, as White and Black creatives rarely collide, except at industry events.
Wilson is a reflection of primal Whiteness that’s conveniently cocooned in a bubble that never pops until it’s forced to do so, and when that happens, the exposure to the alternate universe, which ironically is also known as the real world, can be a jarring experience.
Suddenly, your Whiteness is threatened by the reality of real life counterparts of different colors, who always existed, and were never hidden from sight, but due to the instincts of blocking out items that don’t register with much relevance, you’ve been operating on the falsehood of how the contributions of Black and Brown don’t compare to the global viability of Whiteness.
Thanks to the efficiency of Twitter that encourages the mobilization of like-minded folks who don’t waste time setting the record straight, Rebel Wilson was brought down a peg or two with solid examples of how her grandiose claims had lost validity.
Takedowns of this magnitude are never pretty, but the organized chaos is necessary.
When social media was just a figment of our imagination, there was no effective way to speak up for the population that never gets the props we deserve for being the influencers and initiators of cultural movements, that only manifest to greatness when Whiteness endorses the value.
Kim Kardashian West and her familial replicants are praised by women pubs for bravely inspiring the fashion and beauty industry to surrender to the wake up call of how sizable butts and shiny Afros should be implemented into the fabric of acceptability.
The now-defunct American treasure, Friends, the hit sitcom featuring an all-White cast located in an all-White New York City — enjoyed a decade-long ride — and made cast members the highest paid talents on television.
But then the idea for Friends was expertly ripped from the originator, Living Single — a Black show that showcased an all-Black cast living in the more recognizable version of New York City. The much-beloved sitcom ran for five seasons and interestingly enough its more celebrated spinoff made its debut on NBC a year after it debuted.
All this to say that Whiteness is blinded to the absolute truth of how that elevated status doesn’t always translate in the ways that White people expect it too, and this crippling cluelessness explains why Wilson’s defense mechanism kicked in, and enabled her to retaliate with this ill-fated gem:
For Wilson the lines are blurred, but for those of us who’ve watched enough movies to know that Phat Girlz, Real Women Have Curves, Just Wright, and Last Holiday, are just a handful of examples that shame her wobbly stance — this non-debate is starkly black and white.
Why is it so hard for White women to acknowledge their obvious mistakes when it comes to offensively relying on their privilege and discarding the relevancy and visibility of darker-skinned counterparts?
Rebel Wilson is obstinately refusing to back down, and her clap back is pathetically weak. It just proves her unwillingness to give legends like Queen Latifah and Mo’Nique the respect they’ve earned for paving the way for plus-size actresses, who are now able to seamlessly garner leading roles in “studio rom-coms.”
Evidently Wilson doesn’t consider offerings with a mostly Black cast noteworthy because of the comfort of operating in a studio system that’s devoid of diversity. She’s adopted the same mindset that plagues White Hollywood, and gives narrow-minded studio honchos the audacity to use Scarlet Johansson, Emma Stone and Natalie Portman as the more bankable prototypes of the real thing.
Wilson has blocked a few people who ceremoniously called her out with enough receipts to shut her down, and by the looks of things, she will wear out that button in the days to come.
And all she had to do was say “I’m sorry,” instead of rudely downplaying the efforts of those who came before her by questioning the validity of their station — and whether or not their entries qualify in the realm of White Hollywood’s studio blitz.
White women’s allegiance to their brand of feminism makes it nearly impossible for them to be reliable allies to Black women and women of color.
It’s easy to lend support when the payback is immediate and gratifying, like timing the announcement of your sudden allyship to a nationally revered activist to coincide with an upcoming epic event, or publicly slamming an iconic rapper’s senseless rant, but remaining silent when Black children are casualties of police brutality.
Rebel Wilson may end up shocking us with a heartfelt apology that illustrates how she needs to do better by staying out of the bubble of privilege long enough to be educated accordingly — but that’s a highly unlikely scenario.
This isn’t a competition of “Who Said It Best,” but rather another glaring indication of how White women prefer to remain undeterred and undefeated in the quest of maintaining their positions as symbols of perfection, even when the changing tide threatens that illusion.
If allyship is the goal, all you have to do is say you’re sorry when you forget the Black women who “technically” did it first and did it better than you might ever be able to accomplish.
That will make the “slight grey area,” less blurry.