I am an ENTHUSIASTIC viewer of the Golden Globes. Every year, I take to the couch and limber up my fingers in preparation– this night is Twitter intensive. I have tons of opinions and dammit, I’m going to share them. This year, my dog in the movie race was the powerful and utterly moving, Selma.
I had my reasons for going hard in the paint for Selma.
- Harpo Films. Oprah executive produces it? I’m there.
- Common. I’m afraid that if I have to explain this to you, than our relationship may be in trouble.
- Carmen Ejogo. I don’t have any explanation. I just kind of love her.
- David Oyelwolo. British accent. Beautiful man.
- Ava Duvernay. Read this article, dare yourself not to cry and then you will have my explanation.
- An amazingly compelling and heart-wrenching true story.
The movie could not have come out at a more opportune time. 2014 brought a lot of pain particularly in the heart of minds of many Black Americans. Violent reactions from those sworn to serve and protect brought upon Black boys and men committing either minor offenses or occasionally, just living their lives, has become an unfortunately commonplace scenario. Revisiting the events of Bloody Sunday at this point in history was, for me, almost too much to bear.
As I’ve talked about before, fashion has always been political in the African-American community, and in Selma, the appearance and dress of the characters played an essential role of conveying not only the times but the sensibilities of the people represented and their ideology.
Costume designer Ruth Carter intentionally dressed Common’s James Bevel in the denim overalls that were generally found worn by the younger and more radical members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She chose to dress this one character in denim in order to pay homage to the history, but not distract from the story.
Coretta Scott King, played by my girl Carmen, was always dressed beautifully, both as a representation of the real Mrs. King’s elegance as well as a representation of many of the Black women of that era, where dress and grooming were of the utmost importance in a world where they, at times, have little control.
Having worked as a costume designer and being an image consultant myself, the power of costume on stage and screen is not lost on me but after reading the words of designer Ruth Carter, I’m looking forward to re-watching and re-visiting the costumes with my new context. Read Carter’s interview with The Root here.
Have you seen Selma? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!