Within the last few years or so, Leslie Jones has been receiving a lot of criticism regarding her persona and her career. While I knew of this comedian many years before her rise to fame through avenues like Comic View and All Stars, there were many who did not know who she was until she got booked to join the SNL cast, which also came with a lot of backlash. Now that I think of all the hate Leslie received, and why, it brings tears to my eyes knowing how much she must have suffered for just being herself.
This is a touchy subject for me because I am not what many would consider attractive, black, and gay. I think that in the gay community, I am often seen as what is considered a troll.
Side note: If you are going by that picture, I was 22, around 80 pounds lighter, and with a more open opinion about the world. But effectually, that image is not to catfish, but more of a moral support than anything else (different story).
Many people deem me as stupid, illiterate, crazy, dumb, coonish, a caricature, etc etc etc. I have been called almost everything in the book. All I have done is try to be myself the best way I understood myself. I think this is what Leslie is definitely going through.
When Leslie Jones first came to SNL, there was an uproar about the lack of black females who have been and were then currently on SNL or other shows. While there were many black females who were very funny, and in my opinion funnier than some of those on SNL, there many showcased on SNL and other shows. While this problem seemed to be resolved by hiring talent like Leslie Jones and Sasheer Zamata,
(Leslie Jones, via etOnline)
there was an uproar in regards to using someone with Leslie Jone’s talent in a medium as popular as SNL. The big issue was skits that were considered offensive by many critics online. Please refer to http://www.xojane.com/issues/stand-up-comedian-leslie-jones-goes-full-on-coonery-for-snl-slavery-sketch.
So we finally get a person of color, in fact we have a black person of color, who is a female and has tenure in the comedy game. But instead of praising her for her work on SNL, which is similar if not identical to her on stage material, we criticize her for tongue in cheek material. Strike one.
So we have a commercial featuring Leslie Jones as a lead. Commercials like this usually show that a comedian has made it. ie The Target commercials for Maria Bamford and Visa commercials for Tina Fey. For Leslie, I think that it is the AllState commercial, which I think is pretty damn awesome, that cements her success. However, my conscious and pro-black peers on Facebook were going in on her because she simply did her material.
Questions like “Why is Leslie portraying the stereotypical masculinized and over-sexualized black woman?” were asked. There were many challenges to the validity of Leslie’s femininity as a black woman in the commercial. My response was the fact that there are multiple forms of femininity. Just because Leslie portrayed a style of femininity that is not appealing and challenges masculinity and the heteronormative narrative does not mean that Leslie was being the “Sapphire,” which is a the ball busting loud black woman, refer to video below.
However, I am a male-identified cis gender-neutral college educated person who has never had to deal with the pressure of not being these stereotypes. In fact, people think its cute when they see these stereotypes in certain behaviors I have. (IT’S CUZ I’M GAY. DON’T TELL NOBODY.)
I see a great injustice done when people criticize those like Leslie Jones. She was fine when she was doing her material onstage. However, once it was being done in front of mixed company, the response is to belittle her for the same material that many of us loved before. It’s hypocritical and shows that Leslie is an open target for those crazy racists who came out in droves over the weekend. Strike 2.
So the mess finally hit the fan over the weekend with the release of Ghost Busters. I was excited to see that there was an all woman cast and that it would be a definite change from the boys club that we got so use to seeing for the three or so movies and the cartoon show. I was more excited to see that they picked Leslie Jones to be one of the Ghost Busters.
So I am not going to lie, I did not watch the movie. I stopped being a fan of the brand as a teenager. However, from what I am hearing, it was great. But there were mixed reviews. Some of these reviews were specific to Leslie’s character. Some said it was stereotypical. However, that was not an excuse to call her everything from a black B to a black monkey! Strikes 3
You twitter trolls who hide behind a blue egg are miserable fools. While y’all may call her a black B and a black monkey, she is rich and successful. Something many of you twitter eggs are not. Get a freaking life. For those of us who had so much to say about her being a bad example, we helped make Leslie an open target. As well, Twitter, what the holy crap. Most social media will shut a channel down for putting up pro black media. But people can literally call you an APE and send you pornography and not get punished. Are y’all for real?
My question is would this have happened to Kevin Hart? Mike Epps? Tina Fey?
Not that would Twitter allow this behavior to continue, but would our society allow for these persons to be attacked the way Leslie has been attacked. I think not.
Side note: It took me an hour to come up with this question. Why, because I hold the privilege that two of those in the hypothetical holds, which is male-privilege.
I think that across the board that Leslie has received the short hand of the stick from everyone. She deserves so much better for the success that should be celebrated and admired. It’s a damn shame that Leslie has gone through this mess for no good reason.
KUDOS FOR LESLIE!!! She is doing the dang thing. Haters doing their job in my Kat Williams voice.
Good JOB LESLIE your work inspires me!!!!