While promoting my last show WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, I was asked by several women of color why my role had to be that of a housekeeper. Here's my answer:
Had Elvira Stitt not been written and cast a black woman, Maidie Norman, the original storyteller would not have been positioned to DIGNIFY the character. Her stance in rewriting the "old slave timey" lines created an intellectual standard of correction for black women in Hollywood. Through the eyes of Elvira Stitt, I tell a story of wisdom, insight and support. She's an entrepreneur, a business woman with selective (and high paying) clients. She provides for and answers to herself. I also tell the story of a black women who is unafraid to acknowledge the presence of mental illness and the necessary care of treatment - a prevalent yet overlooked issue in the African-American culture. As I answer this question, I pose to others to those who inspired this post.
1. Why NOT a housekeeper? Black women are some of the most cleanly beings I know.
2. What if she was not black or the cast appeared to have no persons of color?
Anyone who knows the story of the Hudson sisters, knows the show is not even about race. It's about socialism and psychology, which without the presence of race would both still exist. Even within our show, color is not an issue - the entire show was set in greyscale...B/W!!
Why does my character have to be a housekeeper? Because I'm the storyteller. That was reality then, and this is still Elvira's truth. I owe it to her and to Maidie Norman!
Head over to my YouTube channel for a detailed look at my makeup transformation.