Saturday, May 16, 2009

Three Women I'd Like to Meet

Let me preface this post by stating that my choices are not based on any celebrity crushes of any kind. I’m much too old to be engaging in such foolishness. Nor are they chosen for any lewd or lascivious reasons. Not that I’m above lewd and lascivious thoughts, but let’s just say that that’s not my motivation. This time.

These are simply three women who fascinate me for some reason or another. They, or at least their public and on-screen personas, seem to exemplify certain qualities that speak to me for whatever reason. They are women with whom I would simply like to sit down with and have a good meal and a glass of wine or two and just get to know them better on a cerebral level.

Are you ready? Let the list begin.

Jenifer Lewis

My wife refers to Jenifer Lewis as that lady who always plays somebody’s momma, and if you think about it, my wife is right. She does always seems to play someone’s momma or aunt. Think about What Loves Got to Do with It? in which she plays Annie Mae Bullock’s mother. Or Poetic Justice in which she plays Tupac Shakur’s character Lucky’s mother. I could name a few more, but by now you agree.

Of course she is beautiful and shapely, but these attributes are not the allure. There are literally hundreds of actresses who are as beautiful and shapely, or even moreso. But her characters always seem to display a definite intelligence as well as a certain strength, a certain maturity, a certain self-assurance. And to that intelligence, strength, maturity, and self-assurance, that deep, husky voice adds a layer of sensuality.

It may sound just a tad bit corny, but when I think of Ms. Lewis, lines from Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” comes to mind—“It’s in the arch of my back,/The sun of my smile,/The ride of my breasts,/The grace of my style.” She’s a certainly a woman, phenomenally.

Margaret Avery

Who can forget that classic scene from Richard Pryor’s movie Which Way Is Up? Richard Pryor as the father walks in on Richard Pryor as the son and his wife Annie Mae, Margaret Avery’s character, in a very compromising position. Richard Pryor the father begins to raise hell then he stops in mid-sentence and exclaims to Annie Mae, “Damn Annie Mae, you sho’ is built!”

I thoroughly enjoyed that film, but for me, the film that most defines Margaret Avery’s on-screen persona is Shug Avery in The Color Purple. Ms. Avery does not just play Shug Avery; she is Shug Avery. Shug Avery is that woman with the questionable past that every man desires, with beauty and a body that promise pleasures untold. She exudes strength and self-assuredness, but when you peel back the many layers of the façade, what you find is a certain vulnerability and distrust of others growing out of years of abuse and betrayal.

In all her roles, that same sense of vulnerability seems to come through, as does a sense of kindness. Perhaps the perfect setting in which to get to know Ms. Avery would be a picnic outdoors by a lake. That way we could talk amid the chatter and laughter of children as we watched the families and young couples pass by, all the while basking in the assurance that everything would indeed be alright.

Jill Scott

Jill Scott is beautiful. Jill Scott is a poet. Jill Scott is a chanteuse. Should I go on, or should I just stop here? I know the perfect way to get to know Ms. Scott. We’ll just take a nice walk, a long walk “around the park after dark/Find a spot for us to spark/Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation/Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations”.

I’ve been a fan since her first CD. You know I love music, and the music finds a definite groove, but perhaps because she is a poet first, her lyrics are what really stand out. Lately, my wife and I have really been enjoying her HBO series, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Jill gives off that sister vibe. You know, you can talk with her, laugh with her, share your secrets with her, your heartbreak, your fears. And she won’t laugh at your neurotic behavior or go tell her girlfriends. I read that she and her first husband divorced, and she went through a little down period afterward. How could a man let a woman like that get away? But seemingly the story has a good ending; she is now remarried and expecting her first child.

Maybe we can just get together sometime and share a few lines of verse.


Unknown said...

For the life of me I don't understand why such talented women as Ms. Lewis and Ms. Avery are not on television every week.

Max Reddick said...

On television every week? I can't understand why they are not a-list actresses!

Anonymous said...

If Jill Scott doesn't challenge our society's standards of beauty I don't know who can.

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