A few months ago when I was promoting All About Marilyn, I wrote about the differences between Hollywood in Black and White. I detailed how there were actually four Hollywoods, and how each was separate and unequal. Sadly, even some brothers and sisters in Hollywood don’t understand this, nor is this information being passed down to the next generation.
Reading Montana Fishburne’s story about how she hopes to achieve fame, it’s clear her famous father Lawrence Fishburne didn’t teach her about how color taints the perceptions of people in the entertainment industry, or how the porn industry destroys people’s lives. This poor child has no idea her quest for fame and success is over before it even starts.
Rather than take the time to learn the craft of acting and paying dues in college, off-Broadway theater, and bit parts in low-budget films the way her father did, 19-year-old Montana Fishburne has decided to take what she thinks is a short cut to fame like her idol Kim Kardashian. Too bad she wasn’t told about the reflexive properties of Institutional Racism and White Privilege in the entertainment industry and how these principles will prevent her from achieving her dreams of instant fame.
While Montana Fishburne and Kim Kardashian come from similar wealthy Hollywood backgrounds, Kim Kardashian has advantages she doesn’t have. First off, Kim Kardashian has White Privilege. This means, no matter what degrading acts she participates in such as starring in sex tapes, she’ll always allowed a second chance by society because she is a White American. If Ms. Kardashian tomorrow decided she wanted to become a moral upstanding person, White society would embrace and accept her because White Americans are allowed second chances.
However, as an African-American Montana Fishburne does not have that luxury. By participating in a pornographic film she’ll be seen as another black Jezebel, a lascivious woman with an insatiable appetite for sex. At 19 her reputation will be tarnished in the eyes of both black and white in society, and she’ll be branded a whore by the American Public.
Second, the racist institution that is the entertainment industry embraces Kim Kardashian with open arms because she has white skin and perpetuates the “ideal” standard of beauty. In spite of her irresponsible behavior, and lack of talent or skills, she’s going to get the reality shows, press in tabloids and media circus because she’s a rich White female and other white females aspire to have her wealth and fame.
A sista like Montana Fishburne on the other hand will receive a short burst of infamy like Karrine Steffans and former child star Jamiee Foxworth did for their work in pornographic films, and will quickly fade into obscurity. At 19, Fishburne doesn’t understand that the institutionally racist entertainment industry does not view Black women in a positive light, nor does it have any interest in making an African-American woman famous or successful. Since the Antebellum South, African-American women are either categorized as one of two stereotypes by the media: The Mammy or the Jezebel. Neither of these racist ideals is what any black woman aspires to be, and participating in a pornographic film just further reinforces the Jezebel stereotype in America’s eyes regarding her and other black women. Sistas who participate in pornographic films don’t get the reality shows, press in tabloids, or a media circus like the white girls who star in the sex tapes. Instead of fame and success, all most black women get for their fifteen minutes of scandal-ridden fame is ignored. Seriously, when was the last time anyone talked about Karrine Steffans or Jamiee Foxworth? How many tabloids were they on recently? And how famous did either become a year after their scandals hit the press?
Poor Montana Fishburne probably also hasn’t been told about the short shelf life of an adult entertainer. The fame and success she thinks she’s going to get with this pornographic movie will be extremely short-lived. Usually, the average porn actresses’ career lasts only three to six months, and talent is routinely turned over for new fresh faces coming off the Greyhound Buses on 7th Street. By the end of December, Vivid will probably release Chippy D and by February she’ll be completely forgotten by everyone. It’s the nature of the business.
But there is a light at the end of this tragic tunnel.
Like Vanessa Williams and Jayne Kennedy, Montana Fishburne can turn this around and be a very successful at whatever she chooses to do.
Right now, I believe Montana Fishburne needs an intervention. At 19, she doesn’t know much about life. Her immature statements comparing herself to Kim Kardashian and her decision to sign a contract with a pornographer like Vivid Entertainment show that she’s is in desperate need of guidance from Black Hollywood. Montana needs to be taken aside by strong black actresses like Angela Bassett, Taraji Henson, Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah and talked to about the ramifications of what she’s doing to herself and how her actions will affect how other black women will be seen. She needs to be mentored by sistas who have endured sex scandals like Vanessa Williams and Jayne Kennedy so she can learn firsthand how they overcame and persevered to achieve success later on in their lives. She also needs to be educated on the racist images of Jezebel and Mammy by older wiser, sistas like Maya Angelou on how these stereotypes are perpetuated in our community and how they are used to destroy a sista’s self esteem and give all black women a negative self-image.
I really feel someone needs to give her a copy of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God so she can understand how Black women are the mule of the world.
Seriously, At nineteen, Montana should be thinking about college, not being a celebrity. If sista wants to have a career as an actress, she should be working on her craft in a college theater or work in low-budget films. She shouldn’t be focusing on trying to be a no-talent tabloid celebrity like Kim Kardashian. She should be focusing on being the best Montana Fishburne she can be.