In the Eddie Murphy comedy ‘Norbit’, the female African-American character is the overweight, vile and villainous Rasputia…envious of the lead character’s petite, fairer-skinned and amiable love interest.
Now, thirteen years after its release, Thandie Newton is baring all on how she truly feels about the upsetting depiction of black women in the movie.
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She told ‘Vulture’:
I haven’t seen it for a very, very long time. I mean, it’s so offensive that it’s not offensive, I guess? Because I remember when we first did it, the background to Eddie writing the script was that he found himself watching these online home movies where really large women, African-American women, would beat up their tiny husbands. There was just this spate of stuff online. Eddie found them hilarious. That’s what the movie was born out of. When I went to talk about the project, the first draft I read was way darker. It was about this woman fucking abusing this guy. I think it was always supposed to be a comedy, but you can imagine how twisted that would be. That’s why I wanted to do it. And then it just got very … I don’t know how to describe it … It’s like it turned into a kind of Baskin-Robbins commercial. Eddie was hardly ever there, which was really sad. He has the best stand-ins you’ve ever seen. Literally, from five feet away, you would think they were Eddie. I think I probably did most of the movie with his stand-ins.
Her feelings towards the picture were published years after it received a wave of criticism from movie lovers who were upset by the way black women were represented in it.
Food for thought: Why do black male comedians often use negative stereotypes of black women as the butt of their jokes? I.e Rasputia, Madea
— C**r** (@clarkeanax) January 22, 2016
Every time is see that gif of #rasputia I feel a little sad inside. Such a negative false portrayal of black women.
— Felicia Malone (@Talulazoeapple) January 1, 2015
this is a kind of tricky question. in what circumstances are we talking? im assuming youre implying movies + television, like eddie murphy playing rasputia in Norbit. what about black drag queens doing a “big ghetto” woman character? is either scenario ever okay? im conflicted
— BLACK LIVES MATTER / DEFUND THE POLICE (@knoturtweets) July 14, 2019
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