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The Black Best Friend

The Black Best Friend

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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It's one of those things only discussed in certain circles... just what is it with the Hollywood formula of "white woman lead + black woman best friend = gold!"? I've often wondered about it, and was reminded again after seeing The Nanny Diaries, featuring Scarlett Johannson as the lead, with Alicia Keys as the best friend who keeps her sane. It's a setup as old as the hills, but what's it about? Is it about diversity? Tokenism? Or is it just about finding the best actress for the role? There's no denying these women make the shows and movies better: When I first caught a glimpse of Alicia stepping off the subway, I immediately paid more attention, looking forward to her role, and Wanda Sykes' humor and talent are indispensable on The New Adventures of Old Christine. It follows, though, that women this talented should play more than supporting roles... but that's not what we see. What do you think? Does it bother you? Or is it just about assembling the best possible cast?

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