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Earlier this year, NFL cornerback Richard Sherman, turned up and whatnot after playing a role in a turnover that led to his Seattle Seahawks booking their ticket to the Super Bowl, gave an infamous post-game interview to Rachel Nichols. Sherman, in the heat and excitement of the moment, appeared “angry” as he bragged on his talent and, in the same breath, trashed his competition.

In mere hours, a whirlwind of thinkpieces and commentary decrying Sherman’s outburst found their way onto the internets and talk shows, respectively, to the point where Sherman was essentially being demonized for his competitive spirit. A myriad of people ranked on Sherman’s credibility, calling him a thug, a disgrace… you know, words typically reserved for Black folks when they step out of line. Or whatever. It got to the point where Richard Sherman himself had to go on record and all but explain himself for patting himself on the back talking shit on air doing his job.

Richard Sherman became the “bad guy.” And as a result, I moved away from rooting for Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the Super Bowl and threw my support instead behind Richard Sherman. Not because I had any vested interest in the Seattle Seahawks (I’m a Houston Texans fan. Your mother likes it), but because I was so annoyed at people making him the villain, that I wanted him to be the hero.

Quvenzhané Wallis is the new Richard Sherman.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me break that down for you.

I became a huge fan of Wallis after watching Beasts of the Southern Wild and damn near bawling being moved by her portrayal of Hushpuppy, a brave little girl on a journey of self-discovery in a post-Katrina Louisiana bayou and also trying to reconcile her relationship with her stubborn and volatile father. When I found out that Wallis had been tapped to star in the modern-day Annie remake, I became interested. I don’t normally watch musicals at all (Pitch Perfect was my shit though, I admit), but me being a fan of Wallis and intrigued by Jamie Foxx as a Black Daddy Warbucks – and by Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith throwing financial backing behind it – I’d give it a shot. I was at least gonna Redbox it.

Then The Internet happened.

See, I thought the uproar over Keke Palmer being the first Black woman to play Cinderella on Broadway was bad. But White people are FUCKING PISSED extremely livid that there’s a Black child playing Annie. I didn’t really realize it until Twitter. I thought it was just the usual one or two trolls that like to come out whenever a Black kid is shot by police and say “he was an aspiring rapper. He deserved to die.” But I was more wrong than the girl who told Drake that he’d never be as big as Trey Songz.

I didn’t know Annie was some beloved icon in White America whose image was never supposed to be changed. I really didn’t. But lo and behold, White Twitter had the torches and pitchforks ready (I thought I even saw some rope, but I could be wrong). “Why does she have to be Black?” “You’re ruining the image of Annie!” “She’s not even a known actress!” “Annie was originally written to be white.” “A remake is going to make the movie worse!”

O______________o

Oh, but Exodus: Gods and Ki- okay, nevermind. I’m not going to be petty. I’m just going to give facts. In case you cared or want to educate the ignorant.

  • The first relevant Annie in movies was actually Black. She was Juanita Moore’s “Annie” in Imitation of Life, which precedes the “original” Annie by nearly thirty years.
  • Quvenzhané Wallis was just nominated for an Academy Award ‘bout two years ago (two years ago!). The actress who played the “original” Annie, Aileen Quinn, had never had a starring role up until Annie. She also never really was ever relevant in movies ever again after that.
  • The original Annie movie was nominated for Worst Picture at the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards the year it was released. Quinn herself won a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress. Quvenzhané can’t possibly be “worse” than the Worst.
  • The plot summary of Annie – taken straight from Wikipedia – describes the girl as an orphan in the Great Depression who gets adopted by a rich white man seeking to improve his public image. If this ain’t some Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie shit… I’m just saying. Aren’t the little Black kids usually chosen by the rich white folks for charity reasons?

So… since ALL THE WHITES want to have ALL OF THE ANGER about Quvenzhané, now I ACTUALLY care. Now I’m actually GOING to see Annie on opening weekend (right after Selma, I hope). And now I actually WANT Quvenzhané and Black Annie to win ALL OF THE AWARDS and ALL OF THE PRAISE and ALL OF THE BOX OFFICE MONEYS just to shut (White) people up. “But it’s not about race!” You’re right – it’s never about race… except, when it is.

White people took twerking and braids in just this year alone. Black people can’t even borrow Annie for one movie? Good grief.

But I get it. It’s not that you’re mad at Annie. Rather, you’re mad at yourself – because Annie is making you admit that, deep down, you really and truly might be as racist as you always wanted to believe you weren’t.