‘Treme’s’ Wendell Pierce Disses ‘The Help’

Wendell Pierce

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The world might be smitten over the new film ‘The Help,’ but one black actor isn’t so impressed with it. Wendell Pierce of HBO’s Treme sent off a few scowling tweets about the film. “The movie The Help was painful to watch.” “This passive segregation lite was hurtful,” he tweeted last night.

Pierce went to a screening with his mother, who told her son for the first time that she, too, had once been “the help”; she was angry that the movie was sentimentalized and didn’t touch on the curtailed education options for black children that often steered them toward a lifetime of maid service. “[I was] watching the film in UptownNewOrleans to the sniffles of elderly white people while my 80-year-old mother was seething,” wrote Pierce. “She told me how she wasn’t allowed in the kitchen. She couldn’t eat during a 12 hour shift. Only left overs if there was any. She couldn’t drink water from the kitchen but had to go to the faucet out doors.”

Even more problematic for Pierce was the presence of Emma Stone‘s lead character: “Hollywood loves the formula: the Great White Savior. I am tired of this cliche. These black women didn’t need a young white woman be empowered.”

[Wendell Pierce/Twitter/Vulture]