3CHICS Reviews ‘ Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

lee daniels the butler-1

I went to see The Butler, and since I know Ametia’s going to see it too, I thought we’d write our own thoughts about the movie.

I really liked it. I had trepidation going into it, but came out of it really liking it.

I liked it because I thought Daniels brought a lot of Black Pain in vivid color, pretty much from the opening scene, with Mariah Carey and David Banner, which was about as ugly and truthful as anything in Black History.

For me, all the scenes with regards to Black Pain was brutal, honest, forthright, and I appreciated them being put ‘in color’. I have seen numerous pieces on Black History, especially with the Civil Rights Movement, but they were usually in Black and White. By bringing those scenes in color, IMO, makes it real for generations who don’t even know their history.

From the background of non-violence resistance and making it clear that this just didn’t come out of the sky and Black folks just decided one day to show up at lunch counters….to the ugliness and terror and horror of the Freedom Rides….to using the actual Black and White footage from the happenings during the Civil Rights Movement…I appreciate Lee Daniel’s choices as a filmmaker.

Now about ‘The Butler’ and his family. I loved Forest Whitaker’s performance. I understood it, and I loved it. He was so many Black men who lived horrible situations, and set a goal for themselves, because after all, they were Black men in America during a certain time, and the vision of what was possible was limited. I don’t blame those with that vision, and of course, there would be conflict with those that could see more – like his son, played brilliantly by David Oyelowo. The wonder of this movie is that neither one of these men was wrong….they just couldn’t see the other. And, David Oyelowo’s Louis Gaines was able to see BECAUSE of the life his father provided for him, which neither man got until years later.

For Cecil Gaines and his experiences, his goal was to provide a place of SAFETY for his entire family, which he never had, and which his father was never able to for him. He was married to a woman who quit working after they got married. Back in those days, he was able to provide for his family so that his wife didn’t have to work outside of the home, which we all know, was special for a Black family. Between that, and his sons never having to work a cotton farm, Cecil thought he had done what a man should do…he didn’t have the ‘vision’….but, he did right by his family. What he did wrong is what so many of our ancestors have done – they didn’t talk about their pain or the past and the darkness from which they survived. Louis the son was working from a surface vision of the father being ‘just a butler’, while not knowing all the rest.


Loved her.

Best scenes in the movie were with her. Her Gloria is a woman defined by others. She is defined by being Cecil’s wife and Louis and Charlie’s Mother. That was her entire world, and in order to fill the void, she looked to things she shouldn’t…

The dinner scene that has been in the previews where Gloria tells her son:

“everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler.”

I can’t even begin to explain how much that scene moved me because there was so much going on in the entire scene, from beginning to end- Oprah owned it.

Oprah showed Gloria’s pain, but also her triumph. Her delicate balancing act between these two men she loved that were on different courses. I’m so glad Lee Daniels showed a Black Couple working through problems and pain going onto the senior years, with them still being together. I appreciated the FAMILY story most of all.

Enjoyed the rest of the cast, especially those that showed Black life outside of work, and even at work, showed the different mindsets of the Butlers in the White House. Cuba Gooding, Jr. was no less an excellent butler, but we saw the Lenny Kravitz character thinking more broadly about world.

Of all the Presidents, I enjoyed John Cusack’s Nixon the most, because he showed the decline of Tricky Dick from being Ike’s VP to right before resignation.

I enjoyed the movie.

Back and forgot to add: I also loved the Cecil learned from the past. When it came for him to take the opportunity to do the right thing in terms of South Africa…he did. He ‘missed’ the Civil Rights Movement, but saw the obvious parallels with Apartheid and the fight for right there.

Ametia: I thought the movie was BRILLIANT. And of course, my dad and mom lived so much of this life. They both served on many a dinner party for the white county elites where we grew up.

I remember right up until my dad died in 2010, he had a picture of himself dressed in a white coat standing by a buffet table in the county judges mansion. I was so upset the first time I saw it in the living room on top of the TV. I never told my dad that initially, I was ashamed and angered by that photo. I guess I was a lot like Louis Gaines.

Interesting how Cecil’s dad took a bullet for speaking out against his wife being raped. Cecil’s son Louis is born and becomes a Freedom Fighter. It gives us hope to know that each generation has the opportunity to do it differently, to affect postive, though not always easy changes in our culture and consciousness.

Cecil never wavered in his own sense of self and It really warmed my heart to know that he never gave up on fair pay for him and the other black staff. He finally came around to seeing Lewis’ point of view in the later years.

I, like Rikyrah, appreciated the RAW reality of how the white masters brutally raped black women and black men had to either remain silent or die leaving their children and family behind. This is the UGLY that some white folks don’t want to OWN.

All the WH Butlers were depicted as individuals, sharing common experience of serving in the WH, yet they were distinct in their own life experiences and interests.

Jane Fonda’s Nancy Reagan was spot on. I loved how she invited Cecil and Gloria to the WH, even if was just for show. It gave a sense of possiblility that Cecil, Gloria and the other butlers could and would become more.

I had mentioned earlier that I did not want to see this movie with white folks that I know. And I’m glad I didn’t. Some of their excuses of “I don’t like violence” pisses me off. That era of slavery was anything but sunshine and roses. It’s them not wanting to deal with the UGLY truth of racism.

I remember when the students had their sit-in at Woolworths. The Ketsup and hot coffee being poured over those black students was very visceral, for me. It illustrated the outright HATRED of white folks. Like how in the hell does it affect them if a black body sits down at a lunch counter to have a meal or drink?

My favorite Gloria scene: When Gloria shared with Cecil that their son Louis had come by after his brother had gotten killed in Vietnam. Gloria was pissy drunk and had passed out. Lewis cleaned her up.

I was disheartened and yet ever hopeful by the uncanny events of yesteryear like voter suppression, Stop & Frisk, the murder of Trayvon Martin, and basic Civil Rights being fucked with today by a justice system that is still not metering out EQUAL JUSTICE for all.

I’m sure I’ll have more to share, as I continue to process the movie.

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87 Responses to 3CHICS Reviews ‘ Lee Daniels’ The Butler’

  1. Yahtc says:

    The plantation scene is a concentrated condemnation of the grip that white land owners had on their sharecroppers and on their leased workers.

    Needing his sharecropping job and knowing the deadly harm that could come to either himself or his son, Cecil’s father knew he had to silence is son’s cry for his mother when she was directed by the son of the plantation’s matriarch to follow him to the shed.

    Cecil’s mother knew she had to go to the shed if she wanted to keep to keep her family safe and keep the sharecropping job that they desperately needed for their existence. And, in all probability, they like the majority of sharecroppers of that time were deeply in debt to the landowners through the dishonest practices of the landlords.

    After his mother’s rape, Cecil confronts his father’s silence….his father whom he saw as a moral man who knew right from wrong; his father whose role was that of protector; his father who should be speaking out.

    It was heartbreaking to witness the Cecil’s pain from his mother’s rape, his shattering of his image of his father as the upright protection, and his disbelief and disappointment in his father’s reaction.

    Cecil’s reaction was just too much for his father: Throwing to the wind the caution that he had always lived by in order to survive, his father spoke up to the son of the plantation and was immediately shot dead by this depraved man.

    The screenwriter no doubt knew this dark history of the white sharecropping, farming practices in the South. Perhaps the screenwriter had also know of all of the killings and deaths within the convict leasing system on farms, in mines, in turpentine camps, etc:


    Now questions:

    We need to consider the action that the plantation matriarch took immediately after the killing of Cecil’s father…….her taking of Cecil to work inside the plantation house.

    Some may feel it was compassion on her part.

    However, I have to ask:

    Was it to protect her own son?

    Was it to insure that no sharecropper or Cecil’s mother, would never tell authorities what they had witnessed because the plantation matriarch was basically holding Cecil hostage as a “house n….”?

    Was it to make Cecil’s mother submit docilely to future rapings by the matriarch’s son?

    And, when Cecil neared adulthood, was the reason he felt it was too dangerous to stay because the plantation son might take action against him to be sure that he would never talk about the murder of his father? Cecil certainly knew that the plantation would be no place to marry and raise a family.

    My heart ached for Cecil’s mother as he departed.

    Over the years, the murder of her husband, the repeated (no doubt) raping, and the loss of her son to the plantation matriarch were OVERWHELMING to Cecil’s mother, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
    …….she retreated to the only safe place she knew — the inner place where she no longer had to be sane, no longer had to feel or think sanely about the evil, depravation or horror around her…..A place within which required no sanity.

    • Ametia says:

      Yahtc, these are all good questions. And each one will no doubt have a myriad of answers according to how deply folks want to delve into their own consciousness and contemplate the questions Also, the answers might reflect one’s own life experiences.

      The Butler is one such movie that if viewed in this context, instead of just another movie about racism has the ability to solicit these types of questions and spark these kinds of discussion.

  2. Yahtc says:

    How True Is The Butler?
    By Aisha Harris | 
    Posted Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, at 11:37 AM

    Excerpt from article:

    So how much of Allen’s real-life experience actually made it into the film?
    Not much. According to Daniels’ foreword in “The Butler: A Witness to History”, a book by Haygood published to accompany the film, the movie “is set against historical events,” but “the title character and his family are fictionalized.” The skeleton of Allen’s story is there: the childhood on a plantation in the early 1920s, the interactions with several presidents. But the names have been changed: Allen and his wife, Helene, are called Cecil and Gloria Gaines. (They’re played by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey.) At least one key character, Cecil’s son Louis (David Oyelowo), is entirely made up.

    To me, the screenwriter’s divergence from the facts Allen’s life, is a beautiful vehicle to cause us to think of our history……to consider the evil forces at work in each period of our history.
    Although the plantation scene is short, there is a treasure trove of information revealed in it as to the conditions existing in the South at that time in the 1920’s.

    I have much that I could write about that plantation scene and my reaction to it. A lot of what I would write would be in the form of pointed questions requiring hard thinking and acknowledgements of the practices occurring on white owned farms of the era from the 1870’s through the 1940’s.

  3. Yahtc says:

    “A Butler Well Served by This Election”
    By Wil Haygood,
    November 07, *********2008 <<<

    For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land.
    He trekked home every night, his wife, Helene, keeping him out of her kitchen.
    At the White House, he worked closer to the dirty dishes than to the large desk in the Oval Office. Helene didn’t care; she just beamed with pride.
    President Truman called him Gene.
    President Ford liked to talk golf with him.
    He saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six days a week. “I never missed a day of work,” Allen says.
    His is a story from the back pages of history. A figure in the tiniest of print. The man in the kitchen.
    He was there while America’s racial history was being remade: Brown v. Board of Education, the Little Rock school crisis, the 1963 March on Washington, the cities burning, the civil rights bills, the assassinations.
    When he started at the White House in 1952, he couldn’t even use the public restrooms when he ventured back to his native Virginia. “We had never had anything,” Allen, 89, recalls of black America at the time. “I was always hoping things would get better.”
    In its long history, the White House — just note the name — has had a complex and vexing relationship with black Americans.
    “The history is not so uneven at the lower level, in the kitchen,” says Ted Sorensen, who served as counselor to President Kennedy. “In the kitchen, the folks have always been black. Even the folks at the door — black.”
    Sorensen tried to address the matter of blacks in the White House. But in the end, there was only one black man who stayed on the executive staff at the Kennedy White House past the first year. “There just weren’t as many blacks as there should have been,” says Sorensen. “Sensitivities weren’t what they should have been, or could have been.”
    In 1866 the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, sensing an opening to advocate for black voting rights, made a White House visit to lobby President Andrew Johnson. Johnson refused to engage in a struggle for black voting rights. Douglass was back at the White House in 1877. But no one wished to discuss his political sentiments: President Rutherford Hayes had engaged the great man — it was a time of high minstrelsy across the nation — to serve as a master of ceremonies for an evening of entertainment.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Monday, August 19, 2013

    For Conservatives, “The Butler” is a Great Lesson in the Virtues of Being a “House Negro”

    Some conservatives are not too happy with the new movie The Butler. As I wrote here, The Butler is an extremely “conservative” and “American” movie that the Right should love. Nonetheless, their complaints are expected.

    The Butler features a predominantly African-American cast. The docudrama’s storyline also dares to culminate with the election of Barack Obama. These are two immediate strikes against its popularity among white conservatives.

    Given that Barack Obama is the Right’s version of Satan, The Butler is a logical focal point for Obama Derangement Syndrome.

    Moreover, as Fox News guest Erik Rush suggested last week Obama is apparently organizing gangs of black people to attack whites with the movie being a pretext that is:


  5. rikyrah says:

    From “The Help” to “The Butler”: The Troubling Politics of Hollywood

    August 18, 2013

    Let me be honest, I rather liked “Lee Daniel’s The Butler.” I’m hoping for Academy Award nominations for the portrayals of Cecil Gaines and Gloria which were the based off of the real life story of the black butler who served across eight U.S. presidents by the names of Eugene and his wife Helene Allen. One touching part about the movie was how much they humanized the presidents. Even the likes of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan who aren’t much well liked in the black community were given moment of possessing the human touch that the movie displayed without coming off as forced or sappy.

    I thought the movie accurately portrayed the civil rights historical events and gave about as much credence as one could expect from a biopic movie that sought to entertain rather than inform. One of the challenges that Hollywood faces, even as left leaning as they are, is having to grapple with how what is produced is digested and entered into the public conscience as reality. When I first saw Quentin Tarentino’s “Inglorious Basterds” I really wondered how much of it was based on a real series of events. Of course by the end when Hitler, Goebbels and the rest were killed in a movie fire I realized just how faux it really was. However, movies like that and even Tarentino’s “Django Unchained” which have no connection to real persons, but exist as a historical portmanteau of cinematography, when patrons leave the theater, they are more quick to point to a movie as fact rather than do a quick Wikipedia search to find out just how accurate was what they saw.


    As a final note of criticism, I think it is interesting how Hollywood (not withstanding Tyler Perry) has burgeoned with these black-themed mainstream movies such as “The Help,” “Precious,” “42,” “Django Unchained” and now “The Butler” in the Age of Obama. I think it plays into the fetishizing of blackness that white America has done historically in many instances and how the black liberal consensus has fed into as well. One’s blackness is on the line when trying to determine is it worth giving up some creative license for mainstream, or is the authenticity compromised too much for that chance of the mainstream.

    Lee-Daniels-The-Butler-Michael-Rainey-Jr.-and-Vanessa-RedgraveAfter all is said and done, I watched this movie and saw my parents. I saw the quiet dignity of my father, who at five years old picked cotton much like the telling of Cecil young and in the fields, grown up through life and married to my mother for the past 41 years as a testament to my story. The story of a black married couple is what this movie also showed and that was something that I could identify with as their son.

    If this is an image Hollywood wants to mainstream, by all means, you have my permission.


    • Xena says:

      After I had a college class titled “Film: Content and Style,” my late husband hated going to the movies with me. He said that I saw “too much.” LOL! Good directors use symbolism to convey messages, and Tarantino, IMO, is a good director.

      I watched Django Unchained several weeks ago. The one symbolism that stuck out was the screaming. There was screaming out of fear; screaming out of pain; screaming out of fear of pain; and screaming out of anger with being put in fear and pain. Although the movie was fiction with fictional characters, the screaming is the reality of bondage; racial oppression in America.

      Lee Daniels did an excellent job directing “Precious.” Watching it, the race of the characters faded into the story of relationships, survival, overcoming, and determination. Daniels wrapped the symbolism in Precious’ two children. Her dad produced her, and she produced her dad’s children, symbolizing being placed in circumstances beyond control; bondage — yet finding strength to change the circumstances by building self-confidence and pride.

      I look forward to seeing “The Butler.”

  6. Yahtc says:

    “Collection reveals the culture and identity of African Americans through art”


  7. Piers Morgan Live has cast of The Butler on tonight. Piers asked Lee Daniels is America more racist since PBO became president. Lee Daniels answered…Yes, I think people are angry b/c he IS president. They’re showing their true colors.

  8. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Butler’ examines civil rights history from a new perspective
    By Ty Burr
    | Globe Staff

    August 15, 2013


    Yet “The Butler” is a remarkable, even exhilarating movie not for its inherent Gump-itude but for the social portrait that gimmick allows. Is this the first film about the black struggle to belong in America (as opposed to to America) in which the whites aren’t heroic prime movers? Feels that way, especially in the wake of “The Help.” More compellingly, “The Butler” finds its drama in the generational stress-fractures of average, hard-working African-Americans as they navigated those tortured decades. It’s a side of the history we really haven’t seen before. And it’s a revelation.


    Refreshingly, “The Butler” is less concerned with events in the Oval Office than in the rest of the country and in Cecil’s own home. His wife, Gloria — Oprah Winfrey in a weary, wrinkled housedress of a performance — initially thrills when he lands the job, then slides into disgust and boredom when her husband’s work ethic keeps him at the White House until all hours. Their older son, Louis (David Oyelowo), heads off to join the Freedom Riders and sees his father as an Uncle Tom; their younger son, Charlie (Elijah Kelley), gets sent to Vietnam. You can see where this is all heading.

    Yet even as “The Butler” goes overboard in its “you are here, there, and everywhere” historical march — it gets a bit much when Louis turns up in Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memphis hotel room, or when his girlfriend (Yaya Alafia, who’s very good) comes to dinner with a full-on Angela Davis afro — its portraiture of an older generation’s social milieu is unerring. I’ve never seen a movie this mainstream-minded so little concerned with what a white audience thinks, not in a confrontational way but in its simple fidelity to black American life as it was experienced in the mid-20th century. This is how we lived, the movie says. This is what our homes looked like, and how our music sounded; this what we argued over at the kitchen table and how we celebrated, what divided us and what brought us together.


    Yet it’s the people who work for them we remember in this movie: the shallow, effervescent Carter (Cuba Gooding Jr.), the politically astute James (Lenny Kravitz), Cecil’s no-good neighbor Howard (Terrence Howard). We see their lives unfold, the choices they make, and the consequences those choices have. At the movie’s center is Cecil, the perfect butler, and we understand that his silence is a choice that brings its own hard bargains. Whitaker, a gentle bear of an actor, gives a masterful performance, attentive to the ways Cecil’s pride in his work increasingly comes up against his pride as a black man. The character’s growth — as a husband, father, professional, and human being — is the film’s real story, and by extension it’s the story of an entire generation. “The Butler” asks us to look, and look hard, at a man who thought the only way forward was by keeping invisible.


  9. Hardball – The role of Civil Rights in the Lee Daniels’ The Butler

  10. Ametia says:

    MSNBC: How the HELL are you going to have top director Lee Daniels and Cubing Gooding Jr.from the top grossing movie this weekend on your show, and have TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES?!! Sharing a fucking mic? GTFOH

  11. ‘The Butler’ role reminds Mariah Carey of ‘horrible’ racist moment



    Mariah Carey had her own real-life incidents of racism to draw on while playing a plantation worker in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

    “There is a scene later in the movie when someone spits in someone’s face, and that happened to me,” Carey told the Sun Times. “That scene was the deepest thing in the movie for me.

    “Someone spit on my face on a school bus. It was one of the most horrible, most demeaning moments of my life.”

  12. Cuba Gooding Jr and Lee Daniels were on Hardball speaking about “The Butler”. MSNBC had technical problems. Cuba Gooding Jr & Lee Daniels had to share a microphone. Good grief MSNBC!

    Video coming up as soon as it’s available.

  13. roderick2012 says:

    I can’t see this movie at the moment because I am living this crap on my job and if i did see it I may end up taking an Uzi to work and you’ll will hear about me on the news. LOL

    I won’t be a wet blanket and say what I want to say about the only types of black movies Hollywood seems to adore so I will keep my thoughts to myself.

    I hope all of you ladies had a relaxing weekend and I hope all of you have a prosperous and successful week ahead.

    Tomorrow I return to work aka Ground Zero after a week’s vacation.

  14. I’m enjoying reading your reviews, ladies. I’ll be going to check out The Butler soon and I can’t wait to see 12 days of Slavery. I saw the preview last night. Whew Lawdy!

  15. CarolMaeWY says:

    I remember watching “Roots” on TV. What did you think of that mini-series? It was more than thirty-five years go.

    • rikyrah says:

      Roots was the first time true American History was told. It was a revolution.

      • CarolMaeWY says:

        I was riveted to the TV. Never missed a show which wasn’t easy with a wo year old. I wondered why I never knew and I was horrified at what was done. I knew about slavery and thought that was very bad and didn’t understand why it happened in the first place. I asked questions my parents couldn’t really answer, but I never imagined the way they were treated. I bought the DVD set. It’s been a long time since it came out. I’ve never seen it rerun.

    • Ametia says:

      @CarolMae. I re-watched the entire Roots series 2 months ago. It never gets old.

  16. Xena says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for the review. I’m not one to go to the movies (too far and expensive) but they are generally available on “On Demand” 2 to 3 months after their release in the theaters. I’ll be watching for sure.

  17. Vettte says:

    Another point worthy of discussion about this movie is the strong belief and commitment of African American men of a particular age, in days gone by, to remain INVISIBLE. And it’s understandable because it was ingrained in our psyche’s from slavery if you wanted to survive. The comment learned by Cecil as he learned to polish silver and serve tea, he took to heart the lesson given to him by the mistress of the house (Vanessa Redgrave): “A room should feel empty when you’re in it.” A matter of survival THEN AND NOW??????

    • Ametia says:

      Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” came to mind, as soon as missy ann made that comment “A room should feel empty when you’re in it.”


      • Vettte says:

        Well now that President Obama is in the room, sitting at the head of the table, it definitely is no longer EMPTY for us because we are no longer invisible.

      • Ametia says:

        Seriously, the fact that President Barack Hussein Obama is sitting at the head of the WH table has really called out the racists to take us back to those days of invisibility. All the name-calling like “socialist, maxist, the birthers, any and evey thing to try and dehumanize and deny his humanity,his legitamacy as our president.

        Cecil Gains living long enough to witness the election of America’s first Black President is sooooo SWEET!

  18. Ametia says:

    “I do think black and white films can relay the pain of the times. I know I felt it through the news I saw. Schindlers List made a big impact in black and white.”

    No doubt. We’re in the 21st century and I so get what Rikyrah means by showing certain film footage in color. Some of these expereinces are happening in 2012-2013, and so it is more effective to show the scenes from the 60s that are still being played out today. Today is in color, balck and white footage in the Woolworth lunch counter would not have hit me so viscerally, had I not seen the RED Ketsup being poured over that black student’s hair & face.

  19. Vettte says:

    O..M..Gee!!! I know Oprah and her brand are being used to promote this movie, but FOREST WHITAKER became THE BUTLER and he is deserving of The Oscar for his performance. It was brutally authentic, no sugar coating of our history…yet another depiction of our journey as African Americans as a part of this country’s history. The theater where I was had a diverse crowd and movies like this are of interest to soooo many people of varying colors because soooo many people don’t truly know the contributions that AAs have made in our United States of American. IT WAS AUTHENTIC~ Unlike The Help, The Butler did not have to have a happy ending because IT IS WHAT IT IS, our history, our contributions, the dual-lives we had to lead in order to survive in this country. Serving in the White House and leading the middle-class African American life is a part of our character that we as a people have mastered. We never let our roles on “those jobs” affect our families, fellowship or resilience. We built this country and I am proud that these stories of HOW WE GOT OVER are brought to the big screen for all to see and know. I LOVED THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BUTLER.

    On a lighter note, I came home looking for my jogging suit because I just can’t see WHY they went out of style; I still wear remnant and pieces of mine; they were very very comfortable. Don’t have anymore of those heavy beaded dresses but I do remember the times!! LOL! So many decades of memories in this movie and I cant see why anybody would name their baby Shaquanda either?? LOLLLLLLLLLLL!

    Oprah did a “fine” job. I will be surprised if she doesn’t get nominated because of her stature; I won’t be surprised if she does not win. She did a fine job though. Whitaker cannot be overlooked for his stellar performance.

    • Ametia says:

      Hi Mythe. That’s my Sista; breaking it down!

      THIS IT WAS AUTHENTIC~ Unlike The Help, The Butler did not have to have a happy ending because IT IS WHAT IT IS, our history, our contributions, the dual-lives we had to lead in order to survive in this country.

      So true. The Butler most certainly NOT a movie to make white people feel good about themselves.

      • Vettte says:

        But Ametia, white people were there in the theater, listening and wanting to know. It may have been because of Oprah’s brand but I looked closely at their attentiveness. At the end of this film and The Help and Miss Jane Pittman, you have a need to stand up and say just where are my reparations for everything we have survived and continue to endure today. How much more and for how long?

      • Ametia says:

        There were white folks in the theater where I saw the movie too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard how great “The Help” is by white women. My point is there were NO depictions of a White savior in The Butler. They save themselves and each other.

    • rikyrah says:

      thank you for posting Mythe.

      I’m with you about the ‘happy ending’

      as well as Mr. Whitaker’s performance..

      LOL about the jogging suit.

  20. rikyrah says:


  21. Ametia says:


    Gloria & Cecil attend the WH State Dinner. They were invited by First Lady Nancy Reagan.

  22. Ametia says:

    Eugene Allen, the WH Butler


    • Vettte says:

      Black people have lived in the White House longer than any other group of people after we built it. 265 years of slavery and ONLY 150 years of freedom…change is slow but I do believe this country is changing. How long it will take to stand up to it’s constitution and creeds, I don’t know but it will evolve into something different than our past and the times we live in. In the years to come, I do expect to see more film depictions of the Mexican American journey in our country as well. The stories MUST be told and people truly want to know what our country’s various cultures endure and how they survive.

      • Ametia says:

        So true, Vette. No matter how much they try to revise history, they will NEVER erase the ugly truths about America’s racism or the courage and strength of a people, BLACK PEOPLE.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Box Office: ‘The Butler’ Cleans Up With $25 Million

    6 hours ago | Variety – Film News | See recent Variety – Film News news »

    The Weinstein Co.’s “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” cleaned up at the domestic box office this weekend, overperforming with an estimated $25 million in three days, while Universal’s “Kick-Ass 2″ delivered a soft $13.6 million domestically, not strong enough even to claim second place.


    • I saw it. Whoa!

    • CarolMaeWY says:

      Sadly I’ll have to suffer through with kick-ass 2. ;)

    • Ametia says:

      This is wonderful news! Oscars, Golden Globes, and SAG Award nominations for The Butler should follow.

      • Vettte says:

        But wait, hold on. This will be a record year for epic film. This fall “12 Years As a Slave” comes out as well as Idris Elba’s performance as Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom”…my all time favorite book. This WILL BE a banner year for African American authenticity. But “12 Years as a Slave” is going to be real hard to stomach.

      • Ametia says:

        LOL I can NOT wait for “Long Walk to Freedom” And I love Idris Elba.

        The truth must be told again and again.

        We will not be going back.

        I’ll go see “12 Years as a Slave.”

        These TRUTHS are not pretty, but they must be told as authentically as possible.

  24. Mythe said the movie was wonderful and warned to bring lots of tissue. I’ll certainly check it out.

  25. rikyrah says:

    What ‘The Butler’ Gets Right
    The film captures the rarely discussed schism within black families over the struggle for civil rights.

    By: Marita Golden | Posted: August 16, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    This has been a long, hot summer, dominated in part by the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin. The trial, which became a media spectacle, was at its heart the story of the unfulfilled search for justice. The verdict in that case broke millions of Americans’ hearts and inspired the slogan “We are all Trayvon.”

    Now, as the summer nears its conclusion and we await the 50th-anniversary celebration of the March on Washington, comes Lee Daniels’ The Butler, in its own way a story of the search for justice. This time the quest is mirrored in the life and work of a black man who served presidents and whose job was to “Hear nothing. Say nothing. Only serve.”

    If we are all Trayvon Martin, and I believe that we all are, then this complex and deeply satisfying film informs us that we are also all Cecil Gaines, the fictional stand-in for Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. The film, inspired by the profile of Allen by Washington Post writer and award-winning biographer Wil Haygood, is much more than the witness-to-history drama that the trailers seem to promise. Heading the stellar cast is Oprah Winfrey, a revelation in a rather limited role that she enlarges with a newfound cinematic confidence, and Forest Whitaker, giving a performance that is majestic, terrifyingly beautiful and his best in years.

    One of the major contributions of this film is its charged and realistic dramatization of the little-discussed and rarely acknowledged schisms within black families over the strategies of the civil rights and later the black power movements. David Oyelowo plays Louis, Cecil’s sensitive, ever-questioning son, whom we first meet as a teenager who wants to attend a demonstration in response to the death of Emmett Till.

    His father, who managed to escape the South with his life after witnessing the murder of his father by a white man, has — through more hard work than his son could ever imagine — attempted to create a bulwark against the intrusion of that legacy. Having been warned by the black maître d’ who hires him that “there is no tolerance for politics in the White House,” Cecil stamps out his son’s initial spark of activism.

    Yet Louis goes on to attend college at Fisk in Tennessee, where he joins the Freedom Riders, gets arrested throughout the South while protesting segregation and ultimately joins the Black Panther Party, which he later leaves, disillusioned by the party’s violent rhetoric and actions. The film brilliantly captures the feel, sound and tenor of those explosive years that changed so much for African Americans, women and other long-marginalized racial and ethnic groups.


  26. CarolMaeWY says:

    Not showing in my town. I’ll have to wait for cable. :(

    • Ametia says:

      Hi CarolMae. This is the sad reality. Because every black person I know knows of the struggles and rewards depicted in this movie. It’s a movie that needs examining by white folks. Not suprising it’s not showing in your town.

      Some White folks don’t care or want to know or admit to the legacy of America’s shameful past or it’s revisionist history. If it were showing in your town, would you go and view it in the theater?

      • CarolMaeWY says:

        Yes, I would have. I didn’t expect it to be shown here though. Last year there was a very bad documentary about Pres. Obama and it was here for weeks. Most movies don’t stay that long. Even Lincoln was here for only a couple weeks. I was gone looking for this tweet.

      • CarolMaeWY says:

        After reading your reviews I want more than ever to see it. Unfortunately it would be a two hour drive to a town that might be showing it. I’ll check after I finish typing. I believe in showing violence that is not exagerated because I think that is why we so willingly went to war in Iraq. People forgot Vietnam and the Channels never showed the Peace protests. But fortunately I’ll be able to watch on cable someday. I’m glad it’s doing well at the box office. I had seen some comments that were negative about the film coming from Blacks so I didn’t know what it would be. The same went for Django. I haven’t seen that either. It means that I can’t join in the real time conversation though. I do think black and white films can relay the pain of the times. I know I felt it through the news I saw. Schindlers List made a big impact in black and white.

        I’m watching my favorite yearly sporting event, the Little League World Series. It is a true World Series. This morning I watched Mexico v Panama and later it was Washington v Conneticut and the game of Deleware v California just finished. I don’t think there are many Nationalities missing. It’s mostly on ESPN2 with some on ABC. Check your local listings. :) It’s on all week, with the finals next week. The final is between a U.S. team and a World Team. They play for the love of the game. Much more fun than MLB.

      • Ametia says:

        @CarolMae. So what exactly was the reasoning Regal Theater gave for manning their digs with armed Po Po?

      • CarolMaeWY says:

        Closest I could see it is Casper, WY. One hundred and twenty miles away. Rapid City a hundred and sixty miles. We’re going to Sioux Falls, SD for my nephews wedding Sat. Night. Wonder if I could get mom in law to go and Hubby’s brother? We turned out very different than our families and the people we live around.

  27. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Butler’: Lifting the Veil on Black Life
    The film, which may spark a real conversation on race, truly captures how we live behind closed doors.

    By: Henry Louis Gates Jr. | Posted: August 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    In the case of the generation that came of age in the 1950s and ’60s, these normal generational conflicts grafted themselves onto larger political changes both between the races and more especially within the race, in ways never seen quite so dramatically before in the history of the African-American people. Remember, the concept of being an “Uncle Tom” is only as old as the early 20th century (as Adena Spingarn’s pioneering scholarship revealed), and it was made popular by Marcus Garvey in his bitter, bitter feud with W.E.B. Du Bois.

    Never before the ’60s had the concept of race betrayal, as a reflection of generational difference, entered the family. We all — those of our generation — remember this and recall how very painful it could be for a child to reject the parent’s entire mode of being, his or her raison d’être, as being that of a so-called race traitor. It was a horrible aspect of the black power movement, and we shouldn’t pretend that it didn’t happen when telling our history, or sentimentalize how nasty and pernicious it was. It was one of the low points in the internal history of our people.

    The Film Captures the Generational Divide

    The Butler dramatizes the complexity of this phenomenon and this larger period within the race with stunning effectiveness. In fact, the most amazing thing, to me, about this film is the uncanny way that Strong’s screenplay and Daniels’ direction managed to get the black “voice” right. This film is like overhearing conversations in all-black venues, whether at the kitchen table, in the barbershop or beauty parlor or around the card table, playing whist all night long in extended games of “rise and fly.” The film, at its best, is the best intraracial history of what it was like being black in the ’50s and ’60s that I can remember seeing; the best account of relations within the race, both on personal and larger political levels, and how these, inevitably, interact with each other.

    A few delightfully wrought and executed scenes come to mind: when the butler’s wife, Gloria Gaines (Oprah Winfrey), slaps her son for insulting his father for being just “a butler” (read: an Uncle Tom) and then summarily expels both him and his rude girlfriend from their home; when Gloria, in a powerful scene near the climax of the film, wonders if her daughter-in-law’s decision to give her granddaughter an “African” name is meant to be an insult against her; when a character cracks to a fellow card player not to funk up his bathroom; and when one of the White House butlers bends over and whispers the word “motherf–ker” in Cecil Gaines’ (Forest Whitaker) ear as he sits in black tie at a state dinner, perhaps the first time a butler was ever so invited.

    In all of these scenes, we experience the powerful recognition of the truth and reality of the black experience within the human condition — experiences that, in one way or another, we have all had; experiences that need to be shared and dramatized, without embarrassment or self-censorship. I also applaud the film for de-sentimentalizing the Gaineses’ marriage by including a subplot of Mrs. Gaines’ episode of infidelity.

    This is the stuff — the raw material — of art. Far too often our artists — especially filmmakers, I think — make black characters speak as if they were making the case to skeptical white people that we are as fundamentally intelligent and as inherently dignified as we, within the race, know our people to be. And the results of falling into that trap can be hollow-sounding — didactic and propagandistic; words that no feeling, human being actually speaks to another human being; words or patterns of behavior that don’t ring true. The Butler deftly avoids this pitfall and is a model for how the black experience can be represented in all of its dimensions, showing us at our best and our worst, but always at our most human.


  28. rikyrah says:

    another little thing that I loved….the personal relationships between the Butlers and their children..that even years later, when Louis got in trouble, he called his ‘ Uncle Carter’. All of us have ‘Aunts’ and ‘Uncles’ that have nothing to do with blood…and how Carter encouraged Louis, even when his father couldn’t. THAT is what the Elders do for us…always did…..looking out for us.

    • Ametia says:

      So true, Rik. And the WH maids shared a great sense of that family spirit too. They knew all they truly had were each other.

      It’s a good reminder for our children that no matter how much we think we can’t get along with each other, that the true ties that bind are our families.

  29. rikyrah says:

    I hope Lee Daniels does a ‘Director’s Cut’ when the DVD is released.

    • Ametia says:

      Me too. I know “O Magazine” does a behind the scenes look at The Butler. Oprah shared her experiences with Lee Daniels. She said He.KEPT. IT. REAL.

  30. rikyrah says:

    I hope you all will convince Mythe to come and post about the movie

    • I left her message to come and post.

    • Vettte says:

      It was REAL and needed to be brought to the big screen. I hope the ticket sales will drive a new conversation about African Americans in this country. We served in the White House, we cleaned houses in The Help, but we had families and lives, we laughed with our friends and families, we sat down at our own dinner tables, we danced and played cards and partied…we wore jogging suits. White women loved The Help because our mothers raised them and so will be true of the stories told of AAs who served, led, cleaned and ran the White House for soooo many years. BUT WE HAD LIVES, dual-lives none the less, and we loved our families more than we did the ones we worked for. Kennedy was laid out on the floor talking to Cecil, Nixon was drunk and poored his soul out to Cecil….LBJ asked Cecil what he should do…But Cecil went home and the end of the day and left those President’s burdens in that White House. He went home to love his wife, his family and his people. That’s the part that has not resonated…these movies will help.

  31. rikyrah says:


    thanks for writing your review.

    • Ametia says:

      You’re welcome. This movie was RICH & LAYERED.

      I too was a bit hesitant about going to see it. I didn’t want to see another “NOBODY KNOWS DA TROUBLE I SEEN” flick.

      And don’t judge me, but Oprah’s wardrobe was the bombdiggety! LOL

    • Yahtc says:

      This is a repost of my from August 25:

      Yahtc says:
      August 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm
      I am back and can tell you that the movie was brilliantly performed and directed! I felt the movie’s heartbeat and authenticity.

      You three are correct, that slap was for disrespect. I just read your original thoughts on August 18 about the movie, Rikyrah and Ametia, and can now appreciate how profound both of your reviews were.

      Here is something Ametia wrote here that caught my eye:

      The Butler showed that BLACK FOLKS ae not a MONOLITH. So the interests and experiences were varied during this era. Each one no less or more valuable to our collective struggles.

      See, you speak of your Black COLLECTIVE struggles, and yet we whites do not speak of our COLLECTIVE violence, terrorism and horrific actions against the African Americans. I want to recognize and own this COLLECTIVE evil. If I do not, I cannot begin to repair the damage I have done as being part of the white “collective”……in fact, it is this “owning” of it that morally MANDATES me to begin to repair the damage……This is NOT a matter of choice. It is not optional. It is an OWED requirement to be paid IN FULL.

      • Yahtc says:

        When I reposted here , Ametia’s comment did not appear in italics to separate it from my
        comment. Here is how it should have appeared here:

        Here is something Ametia wrote here that caught my eye:

        The Butler showed that BLACK FOLKS ae not a MONOLITH. So the interests and experiences were varied during this era. Each one no less or more valuable to our collective struggles.

        See, you speak of your Black COLLECTIVE struggles, and yet we whites do not speak of our COLLECTIVE violence, terrorism and horrific actions against the African Americans. I want to recognize and own this COLLECTIVE evil. If I do not, I cannot begin to repair the damage I have done as being part of the white “collective”……in fact, it is this “owning” of it that morally MANDATES me to begin to repair the damage……This is NOT a matter of choice. It is not optional. It is an OWED requirement to be paid IN FULL.

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