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Here's a Look at Mariah Carey in Lee Daniels' 'The Butler'

by Vanessa Martinez
June 12, 2013 4:18 PM
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Mariah Carey The Butler

They say "A picture is worth a thousand words."  

Here's an image of Mariah Carey in Lee Daniel's upcoming drama The Butler, a film which will most likely have a polarizing effect with audiences. 

Carey plays a brief role as young Cecil Gaines' mother, who, along with Gaines' father, is a sharecropper. 

She's in the opening scene only - which is quite dramatic by the way - and depending on who you ask, that might be a good thing. 

The Butler opens in theaters later this year, on August 16.


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  • Dede | July 7, 2013 8:41 PMReply

    This film looks like a disaster but not because Mariah is working outside. We really have to teach the youngins because some don't understand the dynamics of race and economics. Massa bores children with slaves. Massa gets more money/assets, workers if he puts his own children to work. Now some poor masters may not have had the biggest house. Would that stop him from claiming his children as property and putting them in the field? That's not to say that the rich masters wouldn't do the same. Life was no better for light-skinned blacks after slavery unless you could and would successfully pass (for white) AND found a way out of poverty. The term 'white' was (and is) a power tool to make poor whites feel like they're included. As a poor white, you either worked off debts, worked a small piece of land (if you had land) or became an overseer (officer)/patty roller (patroller/patrol officer). They would help to keep the slaves in check.

    Btw, this movie is not even about slavery.

  • Blackseed | June 15, 2013 4:06 PMReply

    I read somewhere that this is not even set during slavery. Some people are hilarious.

  • Lauren | June 14, 2013 2:33 PMReply

    All the nonsense about who worked as a sharecropper overlooks the point that she looks in the moment...period. Pathetic colorism continues to drive this site.

  • jane | June 14, 2013 1:22 PMReply

    There were still some black folks picking cotton for folks in the 1950s, probably even the '60s before collection was fully mechanized. Know your history.

  • ALM | June 15, 2013 12:02 PM

    Yes. I am from the south, and I have relatives that were picking cotton in the late '60s. I was talking to my uncle a few months ago about some things, and he said that he used to pick cotton during his summer breaks from high school/undergrad. The big difference is that he did it by choice for a summer job.

  • bluevalentine | June 13, 2013 10:44 PMReply

    Hollywood ignores the truth to paint a picture of pigment superiority. Field slaves were a rainbow of colors just as the houseslaves were. Even massa's children picked cotton.

  • Brainiac | June 13, 2013 3:29 PMReply

    There's no point in even debating this. Someone please throw the book "Jubilee" up in the mix. Yes the mixed race 'children of the plantation' did have to work in the fields. What a sad commentary on our people's knowledge of our history.

  • hiveship99 | June 13, 2013 4:35 PM

    Thank you! I am so sick of having to educate people over the last few days regarding this issue. You can also throw in "Twelve Years A Slave" into the mix. There are other narratives as well that underscore how often those who were offspring of the plantation owners were forbidden to be in the house by the wife for obvious reasons.

    Unfortunately Black people have created myths around Slavery that are not rooted in fact.

  • Blah, Blah | June 13, 2013 2:23 PMReply

    Never mind her look, I have no interest in hearing Mimi do a "sharecroppers" accent. NO way!

  • del | June 13, 2013 5:42 AMReply

    Perhaps those of you who are perturbed by Mariah working as a share cropper would be more accepting if 'master tarrentino' was behind this decision?lol Seriously, some of the comments here are worrying!

  • Helluva | June 13, 2013 2:46 AMReply

    Wow, there are some dumb-ass "educated" black people out here, my goodness. And y'all wanna be filmmakers? "She too light/pretty to be in the fields" WTF??? #godhelpusall

  • MK | June 13, 2013 1:30 AMReply

    Her brows look like she just stepped out the beauty parlor... ah, so a sharecropper with a sense of fashion, then?

  • vdub0408 | June 12, 2013 11:19 PMReply

    Two thoughts: 1- This film is set to premiere on my dear Mother's natal day. They better get it right. 2 - Why does this still with Mariah Carey make me think of the term 'playacting'?

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 12, 2013 10:52 PMReply

    She kinda looks like Paul Giamatti in that photo. Just sayin'...

  • CareyCarey | June 12, 2013 8:34 PMReply

    WHAT!!! Who said Mariah Carey doesn't resemble a slave and could only be found in the big house? Listen, if you're standing near a person who said that, RUN! That fool has been brainwashed beyond repair.

    A slave is a person held in servitude as the chattel of another. He or she was completely subservient to a dominating influence. During the slavery era in the United States there were millions of slave. Consequently there were thousands of slave-masters. Many were poor crackers barely scratching out a living, and thus, in many instances there was no BIG HOUSE. In fact, many slaves were passed down through generations of white slave owners. Over the years many were sold "as chattel" because the new master had no other means to feed his family. It made no difference whether or not a slave was blue black or damn near white, they served their master by any means he deemed necessary.

    The makeup (physical features) of the slave evolved over several centuries. But of special note, whenever the white man's blood entered the mix, we all know the coffee will never be black again. So Mariah Carey could have been a slave working in the pig barn, the tobacco field, the cotton field, the horse barn, the big house or the shit house. To believe otherwise is to believe Henny Penny who said the sky was falling down. But wait... now the rest of the story...

    Some folks believed Henny Perry, so they all decided to tell the King of their discovery. Well, long story short, they met Foxy Loxy who lured them to her den where she pulled off their heads and eat'em up. So get away from that fool who said Mariah Carey could never be a slave who worked in the fields.

  • CC | June 13, 2013 8:40 AM

    LOL, yep, you're on a roll. And check game... Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic Taz. I wanna come by 'cause I like it like that, your motus operandi is really alright, outta sight.

    But if you're hangin' with Public Enemy... self destruction you're heading for self destruction. I mean, 911 is a joke in yo town, get up, get, get, get down. The perpetrator and the victim lives on. Their eyes may shine and their teeth my grin, but they can cry all they want but it's gonna happen again. And that's not Shakespeare.

    Now can the drummer get some?

  • TAZ | June 12, 2013 9:36 PM

    LOL, but what courtroom, Isaac? I am in the courtroom with Public Enemy.

    Can I get some dap? I'm on a roll.

  • CC | June 12, 2013 9:21 PM

    Taz, you're so clever :-) . I stand accused, but the jury is still out *wink*

  • TAZ | June 12, 2013 8:58 PM

    OMG....but wait, you forgot the best part of the story! Leader Henny Penny let all her followers go into the house first and as they were slaughtered, she took that as her que to RUN! and she survived to forever stay safe on her farm.

    To never tell the King the sky was falling.

    I guess the experience of being a perpetrator and 'understanding' the plight of her victims, could have taught her the folly of her ways. Bet she never was perpetrator again.....and therefore there were no more victims. Just a theory. :)

  • Vanessa Martinez | June 12, 2013 6:43 PMReply

    Clarification - she was an SHARECROPPER in the 1920's not a "field hand," which was the term used mostly during slavery. She is not a "slave" in this film.

    By the way, I read the script, hence my comment about the opening scene.

    Carry on.

  • Troy | June 12, 2013 6:36 PMReply

    Not against history but she is far too attractive. If she did turn her master down sexually he would probably kill her and not put her in the field. This doesn't add anything. Won't make anyone pay more attention to the storyline. Gay black dramatic version of none substantive ass Michael Bay. A twist-less M. Night.

  • Rocket | June 13, 2013 12:48 PM

    Probably kill her? Slaves were property. A dead slave meant one less person working your land/house. That mean less efficiency which meant less money. Some of these fantastical views of slavery need to be put to rest. I know Carey's character is not a slave. I'm just amazed at some of the myths people hold onto regarding American slavery.

  • ALM | June 12, 2013 9:37 PM

    Troy, say what now? So only unattractive women were slaves? Only unattractive women could turn the master down and not be put to death?

    Troy, you must be on some strong substances. There are SO MANY things wrong with your comment.

  • BluTopaz | June 12, 2013 8:51 PM

    Why do you think she is "far too attractive" to be placed in the fields? This should be good.

  • acr | June 12, 2013 6:34 PMReply

    It is completely believable that Mariah Carey would be working in the fields, even during slavery. It is a misconception that all light skin negroes were house servants. And by the way this movie does not take place during the time of slavery.

  • Milton | June 12, 2013 6:32 PMReply

    Thank you Juju. Looks like white people aren't the only ones that don't know our history.

  • Beezdablock | June 12, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    Okay, surprisingly, I liked Mariah in Precious. I thought she was totally believable in that role and that she had come a LONG way from Glitter. But, for real, Mariah as a field hand. ROFL. For realz? You don't need to be a history or slavery scholar to know that that's just stupid and totally contrary to history. Lee Daniels is a plum mess for agreeing to this casting. Smh.

  • ScriptTease | June 12, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    Fiction I see. In he real world, Mariah would be in the big house, possibly passing as a white woman, or Massa's number one bed wench. Any who, I doubt I will watch this movie... not because I don't believe it won't be good, but just like "The Help", I'm not really into Black folks catering to White folks, mixed in with racism type of movies.

  • BluTopaz | June 13, 2013 3:42 PM

    I have no intention to see this movie either for various reasons, but are you for real with "Black folks catering to White folks"? How are you not aware that Black people did not have the choices we have now; you make it sound like they wanted to be treated like like sub-human workhorses. Hopefully you are very young and just don't know better, although that's not much of an excuse either.

  • Nadia | June 12, 2013 5:26 PMReply

    I'm no slavery era scholar, but were field hands and share croppers ever this light-skinned, so much that they can pass for white? I mean, in reality a woman of Venezuelan and Irish descent would probably be a in the house.

  • KBC | June 13, 2013 12:54 AM

    During the sharecropper era, if you had to sell crops for a living, no matter how light you were, you worked or you didn't eat. There was no "house" for her to work in; slavery was long over, though sharecropping wasn't exactly an ideal setup either.

  • Rocket | June 12, 2013 7:47 PM

    Poor whites were share croppers as well. Not every white person was a rich slave owner. Not every "field hand" was dark skinned. Not every "house negro" was light skinned. We really have to get some of these misconceptions out of our heads. Anyone who wasn't wealthy during this time period could find themselves working in the field.

  • juju | June 12, 2013 5:59 PM

    That's actually an overblown myth. Field hands were all color, and most house slaves were dark skinned, with the exception of slaves who were related to the owner. I think someone like Mariah could've passed for white, but not all did. My great-grandparents were about two shades lighter than Mariah Carey, yet they had their butts out in the cotton fields just like every other dark skin person.

  • Katie | June 12, 2013 5:16 PMReply

    Really? I'm mad I looked at this this photo. Mariah Carey as a field hand?! lol I'm sorry, I just can't see it. I just can't.

  • Akira | June 12, 2013 5:05 PMReply

    This film will be a disaster.

  • Mark and Darla | June 12, 2013 5:00 PMReply

    Don't know what her character about but she look like a mother with many mouths to feed and no husband.

  • No | June 12, 2013 4:51 PMReply

    I've only seen her in Precious, which both she and the film were better than I expected.

  • FactChecker | June 12, 2013 4:27 PMReply

    So, Vanessa, you've seen a pre-screening of this?

    Well, thank God her role is limited. In recent years, its been hard for me to take Mariah seriously -- as an actor, singer or otherwise. Even though I've never watched AI, just hearing about the drama between her and Crazy Minaj, in the blogosphere makes one want to heave.

    She should stick to singing, because no one is interested in her acting. She's spread herself too thin, in recent years, and become too much of a DIVA -- in the worst sense -- which is a complete turn off to audiences.

  • Marie | June 14, 2013 12:17 PM

    Agreed, Factchecker. I'm tired of rappers, singers and athletes who have zero CRAFTSMANSHIP thinking that they can act. Remember Rick Fox saying during his playing days that he was "pretty" enough to be an actor? I think that sums up the attitude towards the profession of acting, that anyone pretty can do it. Moreover, it's common knowledge that the acting "game" is considered among these people to be more lucrative and less stressful than the music "game." Will Smith said he'd rather work in the film industry than the music industry. But what's missing from Carey, Beyonce, Usher et al is a true love of CINEMA. Acting is just another outlet for them to maintain their wealth/lifestyles, like fashion designing and fragrances. There's no love for the craft and process of filmmaking, just crass capitalism. Sorry, I only have time and money to support the best blacks in the business--Viola Davis, Don Cheadle, Idris Elba, etc.--not just any ole black person. BTW, I find Carey to be especially repugnant. Early in her career, she rarely acknowledged her biracial background. Then when she needed a career boost, she suddenly became a "proud black woman." Never liked her, never will.

  • Eli the enamored | June 12, 2013 5:03 PM

    @GHANAINHARLEM, I loved your post. way to respond.

  • ghanainharlem | June 12, 2013 4:46 PM

    Did you like her in Precious?

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