Last night I went to see the movie Precious just released in Seattle where I am attending college with a good friend of mine. I was scared. I had been advised not to go alone to see this film by a professor who saw it this past Wednesday night.
I was afraid of what I would witness.
Having grown up Black, raised in the South, on the fringes of working class, single-parent, overweight, in public school, and bullied nearly everyday of my childhood among other things which I will not mention here, I was afraid.
As we walked to the theatre, I did everything except talk to my friend about the film. I told him I was afraid of what I’d see many times before we got to Harvard Exit Theatre. I was trembling, nervous, jittery. I nearly cried before we ever got there.
I knew what Precious was about. I’d read some of the novel. I saw the preview. One of the members of my anti-sexual violence club on campus reported that the film was “graphic”. I was afraid of what I would witness.
Out of the entire film, there were only three scenes that really, really got to me though. I did cry. I know what it is like to fantasize about being somewhere when terrible things are happening. I had crushes on plenty of “light-skinned boys” who weren’t interested in me when I was in primary school. These are only two of the other things I feel I have in common with the Precious I saw in the film.
Most of the audience was white.
The white people in the theatre laughed. There was not much in this movie that was funny so I didn’t understand why and was angry later. I tensed up when I witnessed the violence committed against Clareece Precious Jones. Even though a part of me knew it was wrong, it was so familiar, so common to me.
The way the movie was done wasn’t bad, but it deserves criticism. My level of “graphic” was not met despite what everyone said.
I left feeling like shit, just as I knew I would. The final scenes were the most damning.
I left Harvard Exit Theatre with my friend, realizing that like Precious I was not treated as human when I was a child. I still do not see myself as human.
“For Precious Girls Everywhere”.
I think they meant me.
But am I precious?
I do not think so.
I am Queenly and that is all. Does that mean anything?