Wednesday, December 05, 2007


"Here in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don't love your eyes; they'd just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face 'cause they don't love that either. You got to love it, you!"

"... This is flesh I'm talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. And the beat, beat, of your heart... Love it. More than the lungs that need yet to breathe free air. More than the womb, which holds life. More than the private parts that give life. Love your heart. This... this is the prize. Amen. This the prize... Amen!"

"Let the children come. And let your mothers hear you laugh."
-Beah Richards as 'Baby Suggs' in Beloved

I can only hope the dialogue is somewhat close to that of the film as would hate to do a disservice to what I believe is one of its most powerful scenes. Seeing as how it was taken from the internet and much to my dismay, I can not recall it verbatim, I will have to rely on the help of others.

I consider myself an avid movie watcher. I even have the heavily used subscription to prove it. Foreign and subtitled, drama, horror, documentary, 'stupid comedy' and most everything in between some point, I've watched them all.

There are very few movies able to evoke tears or any other visceral reaction beyond an initial viewing, if even at all. Most that do usually have something to do with race, gender or sexuality; issues to which I am inextricably bound. Rosewood, The Women of Brewster Place **Shut up!!! I love that movie** and The Color Purple being prime examples as I cry every time I watch them. Another came to mind today and I was glad.

Beloved, the film, didn't necessarily do well. It only made a total of $28,000,000 whereas the novel won a Pulitzer Prize and although loosely based on the life of Margaret 'Peggy' Garner, is, according to a survey of 125 'eminent authors and critics' by The New York Times, considered the best work of american fiction in the past 25 years. See the 1987 review here.
Toni Morrison's irrefutable brilliance aside as I am dealing with performance not word, Beah Richards is absolutely breathtaking in this scene.
I kissed my own hands.

Also, if you haven't already seen it, I implore you to watch Beah: A Black Woman Speaks at some point in the near future. Directed by Lisa Gaye Hamilton, it's an award winning documentary birthed from over 70 hours of taped conversation on Beah Richards life and career.