A good friend of mine from college used to amuse himself,
and other males no doubt, by occasionally referring to women as bald cats.
His interpretation: unique and ornery little creatures
with nasty dispositions, that like neither themselves or each other. As we
sit in the midst of Womens History Month, Id like to address that somewhat in
the context of the entertainment industry
As a muse for this article, I was asked several questions.
Do I find it easier or harder to work with women? Have I had specific
challenges with a woman trying to hold me back? Are there any women who have
gone out of their way to mentor me, or help me further my career?
Let me be the first to count my blessings to be able to say
that I have experienced no specific negativity that I could ever pinpoint back to
solely being a gender issue; however, the night is still young, and I have many moons ahead of me on this journey.
I will say that as far as public response in general, I do
receive many more congrats, kudos, and messages of support from strangers that
happen to be male. But I could very well chalk that up to the fact that I am writing for a site that caters to a
male-dominated industry. Had I been chronicling my experiences in a fashion
column, I imagine the readership would reflect that as well.
Quite honestly, speaking on my friends bald cat
philosophies (bless his heart), I worry about the women who adopt that pedagogy
for themselves. You all know what Im talking about those women we
occasionally run across that will hold court in the middle of a room, announcing
to every male in it that she only has guy friends due to the fact that all
women are jealous, sneaky, catty, underhanded, and drama-ridden souls.
Excuse me, arent you a woman
I say I worry about those ladies, because theres always a
common denominator in every variable situation. If a particular individual
keeps running into the same issues over and over again with different people,
perhaps that common denominator is really coming from within. Just food for
Are there jealous, sneaky, catty, underhanded, and
drama-ridden women in this world? Yup! Do more women tend to be that way as
opposed to men? Perhaps. But are we all that way? Of course not. Ive run into
difficult folks in this business, both male and female. My solution? Form an
opinion about that particular person, not every other person that has the same double-X
To have a preference of the company you keep is quite
alright, even if it is mostly male
based on common compatibilities. But to exclude an entire genre of people based
on your own blanket generalizations, is suspect at best. Again, you just have
to ask, whats going on inside of them?
We may just find that those are the ones that treat people in the very same
manner of which they claim to be a victim. And if you happen to be one of
those, just stop. *smile*
So with all that being said, Id like to take the time out
to recognize the special women who have been particularly influential or
helpful in my career.
Thanks to Pat Moran, of Pat Moran and Associates in
Baltimore, for giving me a shot at The
Wire when I was just starting out – even though I ended up not looking the
part enough for the producers. Hey, if I cant pass myself off as a heroin-addicted
young mother, Ill take that. She was great to me, none-the-less.
Thanks to Salenta Baisden, a producer out of Los Angeles who
fought for me and busted her tail getting me across country in time to shoot The Dark Party, a film directed by
Kadeem Hardison. She even helped me outside of the realm of film, and for her
efforts, I am forever grateful.
And of course thanks to my big sis Penny Jerald, for all the
one-on-one training, mentoring, advice, and, uh, free management.
As a woman (especially a woman of color) in an industry
where solid opportunities are far less plentiful for people like me, I appreciate
those who have come before me, those who stand beside me, and those who will
come after me.
Taraji Henson, Sanaa Lathan, Regina King, Jada
Pinkett-Smith, Kerri Washington, Julia Styles, Loretta Devine, Keira Knightley,
Natalie Portman keep doing what you do. You are no doubt my favorite muses!
Love, Hip-Hop and Lipstick in Film,
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