>This is a great examination of the fascinating, complicated life of a celebrated Hollywood legend.
Publishers Weekly writes the following about the book:
Watts (Mae West) unveils the largely tragic tale of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award. Born in 1893, the youngest daughter of freed slaves, McDaniel sang and danced to help provide for her poverty-stricken family. Her early career as a comedian and singer garnered raves. She landed in Hollywood, appearing as an extra in scores of early 1930s films. Soon speaking roles in films like Stella Dallas led to her Oscar-winning performance as Mammy in the 1939 epic Gone with the Wind. This achievement marked the pinnacle of McDaniel’s career—and heralded its collapse.
How’s THAT for a teaser?
Seriously, it’s a compelling read, especially when examined through the lens of where today’s people of color stand in regard to the Oscars. Only one person of color was nominated in the acting categories this year. At times it seems like America has come such a long way, but there still is so much farther to go.