/ 10 January 2017

Dear 2017, forget what 2016 told you: We’re alright

2016 was a sociopath. That's an established fact. Fast forward a few weeks into 2017 and it looks good. Mostly.
2016 was a sociopath. That's an established fact. Fast forward a few weeks into 2017 and it looks good. Mostly.

It was somewhere between a mercenary Kardashianesque publicity stunt featuring Rob and Blacc Chyna’s InstaSpat and Kanye West making nice with Donald Trump that one finally accepted 2016 for the sociopath it was, plugged it out and threw it into the nearest pile of years that could have done much better, but went pear-shaped.


Fast forward a few weeks into 2017 and it looks good. Mostly.

The 74th Golden Globes recognised a new set of voices and stories and, by the looks of things, welcomed diversity and transformation hich is refreshing for an awards show but also very typical of awards shows. Glamour and tokenism. Representation has too often been the issue in Hollywood but apparently Tinseltown is woke. Or at least that’s the picture that was painted. Which is the other other thing about awards shows.

Accepting her Cecille B DeMille lifetime achievement award, canon favourite Meryl Streep spoke words that moved and stirred the audience and her peers. Known for all her many memorable leading roles in standout films such as The Iron Lady, The Devil Wears Prada and my favorites Adaptation and Death Become Her, Streep is an actor’s actor. So when she mounted the stage, we watched and listened as she lamented the state of things with Donald Trump as America’s president elect, his sheer sleaziness and the work that the media has ahead of itself to critique his coming into power.

She used her artistic platform with style and grace as she does. I can’t help but remember her (some say misrepresented) remarks at the Berlin Film Festival early last year when a reporter asked her whether she understood films from the Arab world and North Africa, to which she allegedly responded “Berliners, we are all Africans really” – a slogan that sparked the light to #OscarsSoWhite and Black Twitter and celebrities denouncing the whitewashed tradition of award ceremonies. 

She said this after longwinded posturing in which the phrases “humanity” and “African culture” swirled hopelessly about in a jumble that undid her in some parts. The unfavourable experience of Trump certainly must have given her poetry this year.

Apart from Streep’s speech, Viola Davis, Donald Glover, Tracee Ellis Ross and the films La La Land and Moonlight were the night’s highlights.

Powerhouse Viola Davis kept up her winning streak after she was recently honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her Golden Globe win was for best supporting actress for her role in Fences

She’s won the Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding performance in the drama series How to Get Away with Murder as well as the People’s Choice award for her extraordinary portrayal of the brave, troubled and superhuman Annalise Keating. Note the adjectives. I’m a shameless Stan. In her backstage chat with the press, Davis said that she was moved in her work to tell the stories that were intimate. Intimate not because they are small but because they are of everyday people but large with meaning nonetheless.

It was also a good night for Donald Glover, also known for his musician moniker Childish Gambino. He took one Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a TV series and another one for best TV series. FX’s Atlanta is special and holds a magnifying glass up to the mundane by showing up the ridiculousness of American society. It’s a satirical drama with genius comedic timing. In his speech, Glover said that it was important for him to wrack up likes from the folks from Atlanta above all because that’s the kind of pressure that comes behind with the name. He also sent a shout-out to ATL’s trap lords Migos for their banger Bad and Boujee.

The former Community actor is not without backlash though. Followers have pointed out sometimes misogynistic and homophobic undertones in his music and some of his comedic work on the internet. He wrote in a series of Instagram confessions once “I’m scared I’ll never grow out of bro rape.” 

Bro Rape is an early comic sketch he performed with YouTube comedy outfit Derrick Comedy. Is he still a member of the troupe? Either way, Atlanta is something to be proud of making because I’m pretty proud I tuned in and related to it.

#WCE Issa Rae was nominated for best performance in a TV series for Insecure and although she didn’t take the prize, black excellence still cleaned out this category with Tracee Ellis Ross winning for her role in Black-ish. Former Girlfriends’s Joan Clayton, Ellis Ross told the press that she was eager to see every kind of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. She also politely refused to comment on Donald Trump because Meryl Streep and Viola Davis and everyone else had already covered that sad story.

In local weekend news, Black Coffee and Caster Semenya have a lot more to celebrate this January than most do. South Africa’s favourite DJ officially walked his longtime beau Mbali Mlotshwa down the aisle. The nuptials were star-studded and low-key at the dazzling Palace of the Lost City. Ahead of his was Caster’s wedding to Violet Raseboya. The couple’s white wedding followed a traditional ceremony last year.