Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg’s Anti-Fashion Look

Whoopi Goldberg

(Photo Credit: Black Film)

On ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg shares with television viewers her unique fashion style.  It seems that her fashion style resists hegemonic American fashion expectations.  An American woman has to confront societal fashion norms: she is expected to dress in appealing and feminine ways.  To be honest, Goldberg always looks sloppy and like she’s just lounging around her home or ready for bed. The thought that she simply does not know how to dress in an attractive and professional manner would not be reflective of perspicacious thinking, however.  Goldberg is a smart and highly accomplished.  She’s also very interested in politics and making political statements.  With this in mind, it does not appear sagacious to divorce her politics from her fashion (or anti-fashion) style.

Even before Whoopi Goldberg joined The View, she was not interested in the politics of respectability, that is, politics that asserts that one must look and act a certain way.  She’s unafraid to be herself.  In an America where assimilation and duplicity are increasingly becoming more embraced, Goldberg’s conspicuous commitment to being herself is refreshing and should be commended.  Although your view of what she should wear as a professional may not align with her idea, it’s vital to understand that you should not attempt to impose your view on her.  Dress how you want to dress and let her enjoy the same freedom.

When you see Goldberg in clothing that is noticeably loose-fitting, do you ever consider that one of the primary motivations behind her fashion choices is comfort?  Is it too unbearable to contemplate a person resisting both traditional and postmodern fashion styles?

What Whoopi Goldberg wears does not have an impact on how well she’s able to do her job.  If Goldberg started dressing like Oprah, would this change how well she’s able to do her job?  No!

Although, as previously mentioned, I believe that the way she dresses is sloppy and looks like she’s lounging around at home or ready for bed, I have no desire for her to change the way she wants to dress.  I also have no longing to impose my fashion style on her.  Fashion gives one an opportunity to express his or her individuality, and we all should respect Goldberg’s expression of her individuality through her fashion style.  Additionally, as previously mentioned, we might find it useful to consider the political statement(s) her fashion style divulges.

Let Whoopi simply be Whoopi.

Have you ever had an experience with someone who has tried to impose his or her fashion style on you?  Do you believe there is a certain way that those who are on television should dress?  Does the way Whoopi Goldberg dress bother you?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls: Two Thumbs Up!

For this piece, I could have given it a more imaginative title, but I want it to be clear from the outset how I feel about Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls. Since there are so many negative reviews of this film, mostly from Black professors and scholars who don’t think Tyler Perry is tutored enough to do this film, I want to offer a positive view of the film as a Black scholar who loves it. In a sea of negative reviews of Perry’s film, my piece should be refreshing to those who love it, but have not been able to find any positive reviews of it. When you read some of the reviews of some of the Black scholars and professors who have composed negative reviews about Perry’s For Colored Girls, I want you to investigate what they have written about him and other popular Black artists in the past. You just might discover that some of these Black scholars and professors have waged a concerted war against him for no apparent reason other than they hate him or they are envious of his success.

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls is based on the classic American choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf (1975), written by Ntozake Shange, a Black woman playwright. Perry maintained a fundamental commitment to the authenticity of Shange’s work, although he intentionally strays away from the original choreopoem at times. For instance, Whoopi Goldberg’s character is not in the original choreopoem. Perry did not, however, leave out accounts of rape, domestic violence, and child murder that are found in Shange’s work. Some people have told me that these aspects of the film and more make Black people look bad. Well, you cannot hold Tyler Perry accountable for this—these elements are critical aspects found in Shange’s choreopoem.

One thing I appreciate about Perry is his unwavering commitment to presenting disquieting, unsettling, and unnerving aspects about Black life that many Black people want to conceal and not engage in serious discourses about. By taking on Shange’s work, Perry presents to the world issues about abortion, rape, domestic violence, and homosexuality that many Blacks would rather he not show to them and White people. These are real issues, however, that the Black community must be willing to wrestle with and do it through open, inclusive, and public discourses. Perry’s film empowers us with a critical opportunity to begin serious discussions about these controversial issues the film engages.

Although I really love Shange’s work, I enjoyed the film better. Perry was able to enspirit the choreopoem for me. The film gives you the opportunity to see a range of complex problems Black women have to face. A sophisticated presentation of Black female sexuality is offered. The power of the film for me lies in how it is able to unveil a serious revelation about Black women: Despite great traumas and challenges being malevolently inflicted and imposed on them, they find ways to overcome them. At the end of the film, I contend that there is utopian energy. All of the women gain a sense of redemption through solidarity with Black women, through reflective discourse about the traumas and challenges they have faced and how to move past and conquer them, and through resisting self-estrangement by seeking community (evidenced by all of the women meeting together and talking with one another and their holding of one another at the conclusion of the film).

I highly recommend that everyone go out and see this film! Tyler Perry has given us a postmodern gem. We should seize on the opportunity this gem affords us. Although the play and film does not proffer an affirmative view of Black men and Black masculinity, it does depict some social realities about many Black men and parts of Black masculinity and Black male sexuality. Go and see it today!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison