Images, Movies and Race: 'The Help' and Black Women's Labor

January 27, 2012

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(Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures)
'The Help' cleaned up at the Critic's Choice Movie Awards, winning Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Ensemble.

The Help, based on the Kathryn Stockett novel, recently landed four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress.

As part of Worldview’s occasional series “Images, Movies and Race”, WBEZ’s Richard Steele spoke with Enobong (Anna) Branch, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Branch is the author of the book Opportunity Denied: Limiting Black Women to Devalued Work, and her research focuses primarily on the study of Blacks contemporarily and historically.

In their conversation, Branch talked about the legacy of labor for Black women in the U.S. - and shared her views on the controversial film, The Help.

Richard Steele read from a mostly positive article by Chicago Sun Times columnist Mary Mitchell about the film, but he also referenced a stinging critique of the film from a by Tulane University political science professor, Melissa Harris-Perry.