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Black Actors in Dresses
Is There Any Truth to the Myth that Black Actors Must Wear a Dress at Some Point to be Successful?

by Kenney Dennard

berdine dennard
Kenney Dennard

Dave Chappelle walked away from a 50 million dollar contract a few years ago without ever fully explaining why. Months later on The Oprah Winfrey Show, he hinted a few reasons to his leaving. He continued to stress that he was not crazy. In fact, on another show a little bit later he exclaimed, "What is happening in Hollywood? Nobody knows... The worst thing to call someone is crazy. It's dismissive... People are not crazy… That's BS. Maybe that environment is a little sick."

Chappelle told Oprah that while filming "Blue Streak" with Martin Lawrence, he walked into his trailer and there was a dress hanging there. He says he thought he was in the wrong trailer until the producer walked in and told him they had adjusted the script and in the next scene Lawrence’s character would break him out of jail, but he would have to be dressed as a prostitute.

Chappelle adamantly refused. He said the producer left and then the director came in and said, "We really would like you to wear the dress." He still refused. He said this went on for 15 or 20 minutes. When they saw that he was not going to wear the dress no matter what, Dave explained that they came right back with a new script in about five minutes.

That along with feeling of the pressure to deliver self inflicted jokes on black people for white people made Chappelle think hard about continuing another season of his beloved, "Chappelle Show," and he walked away, but not without leaving something to be thought about.

Almost every major black actor at some point in their careers has had to wear a dress or play a flamboyant homosexual before they really made strides in Hollywood. Is it a subliminal message aimed at our black youth?

This started with Flip Wilson in the 70's as Geraldine. Since then everyone from Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Cuba Gooding Jr, Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Tyler Perry, Wesley Snipes, Sean and Marlon Wayons and many others have done it.

Atlanta, Georgia, has become the black gay capital of the world. The president of Morehouse College had to say something a couple years ago to stop some of the men there from wearing heels and carrying purses. But where did all this homosexuality begin?

Neely Fuller wrote about the system of racism/white supremacy in the 70's and stated that as the system of racism/white supremacy moves on, the system is going to have black men wearing dresses. That may have seemed far-fetched then. But does it today?

The black man's means of providing for his family have been taken away. In many cases, the woman is the one holding the families together because of many reasons such as welfare laws that will not allow women to receive welfare if the man is present to the number of black men in incarcerated to the ones getting out that cannot find work.

So subconsciously, do black men feel maybe it is better to be a woman? Will it make them less of a threat?

If whites are threatened by male masculinity then what else is there to do but reduce his masculinity however possible?

Today when you look at the number of black men, posing as she-males or cross-dressing in movies, it somehow makes sense. Many people will not get it but it seems Hollywood does send subliminal messages and so do many other forms of mass media. It has been going on for years, and unfortunately, it seems to have worked.

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