Current Weather
The Spy FM

Actor Wendell Pierce Takes To Twitter To Talk About ‘The Help’

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
August 16, 2011

Twitter takes an understandable beating for pushing everyone to speak in 140-character bursts, and for not encouraging proofreading, and for not always encouraging civility, and for … quite a number of things, really.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be enlightening at times, like when actor Wendell Pierce — who stars on Treme, and who played Bunk Moreland on The Wire, and who has generally gotten around to an amazing degree over the last 20 years, saw The Help with his mother yesterday.

He first noted, “Actors never cease to amaze me. What they do with the material given to them is craft.” But then his criticisms of the story became more pointed: “The movie The Help was painful to watch. This passive segregation lite was hurtful. I kept thinking of my grandmother who was The Help.” He went on to reveal that his mother told him for the first time when they saw the movie that she, too, had been “The Help” and had raised white children.

Pierce said his mother was hurt and insulted by the film, because her experience was, in fact, significantly worse than what was portrayed in the film (what he was referring to as “Jim Crow lite”). “My mother said it was a good story,” he said, “but she knows a different reality.” (For another view, check out the All Things Considered interview with actress Octavia Spencer.)

It’s worth reading the entire exchange that he had with people who did and did not agree with him at his Twitter account. As sometimes happens when people are forced to be concise, he found some very direct and powerful imagery to convey his meaning: “Watching the film in UptownNewOrleans to the sniffles of elderly white people while my 80year old mother was seething, made clear distinction.” At the same time, though, he was polite but direct with those who liked the story and the film. As he put it to one commenter, “I think [my mother] was hoping it would express her pain and anger. When it didn’t she opened up. Maybe the film did it’s job.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

2PM to 3PM PRI's The World

PRI's The World

Get a fresh perspective of people, events and trends that shape our world. Host Lisa Mullins covers a wide range of topics, including science, business, technology, sports, art and music.

Listen Live Now!

3PM to 6PM All Things Considered

All Things Considered

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present the program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features.

View the program guide!

6PM to 6:30PM Marketplace


Hosted by Kai Ryssdal, award-winning Marketplace is public radio's daily magazine of business and economics.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center