When the prophesies finally turned out to be true—that they are making a movie, that all four girls are in and that there is going to be a wedding—scores of the devout laid in wait, salivating for more manna to rain down from the Sex and the City: The Movie mountaintop.
But one particular crumb seems especially unsatisfying.
After six seasons, a couple of power lesbians, a naked Blair Underwood, contract negotiations, false starts and four years of abstinence, the city will finally get some color in the full-figured form of Jennifer Hudson.
The 26-year-old Oscar winner will play a new character—little Louise from St. Louis, Carrie's "young and inexperienced, but still label-savvy assistant." Booooo!
All Sex and the City evangelists know there is one fatal flaw with the show that launched the sale of a thousand Manolos; The New York City that HBO gave us was monochromatic, lily white. Unless you count bright spots with Miranda's former lovah Dr. Robert Leeds (Blair Underwood) and a few lipstick lesbians who showed Charlotte a good time in season two, SATC has never been the place to seek affirmative action in bed.
The film's writer-director Michael Patrick King has said in interviews that Hudson's casting was no coincidence. The film not only needed a younger diva to divvy up the action (Carrie and her cohorts are now all 40 plus), but it also needed diversity.
"I always felt the one color that was missing was an African-American woman or a minority character," said King. "Then I thought, 'Who can play her?' And Jennifer Hudson said yes."
Sarah Jessica Parker has echoed King's concerns, "African-American women and women of color have been a big part of our audience for a long time [and] we really haven't been responsible to them."
So the addition of Ms. Hudson to the cast should bring squeals of delight, not snickers of snark. Finally a black woman can be seen in close proximity to sex and not be sexualized. SATCTM has the chance to break some celluloid molds here.
Still, Hudson's character, though fresh-faced, unexpected and significant, appears to be fairly predictable. Louise, with her curly black 'do and dizzy plaid boots, has a specific function in the film—helping Carrie get her crap together after a bad break up. Basically she is the perfect pocket life coach.
From the stingy trailer:
"Have you ever been a personal assistant?" asks Ms. Bradshaw, playing the unaccustomed role of a grown-up to Louise's innocence.
"No," answers Louise with a saccharine naiveté that is actually refreshing.
"Why'd you move to New York?"
"To fall in love." Oh, Sweet Jesus.
In August 2007, Greg Braxton of the Los Angeles Times first coined the term BBF — black best friend — in the article "Buddy system; They're wise, loyal and often sassy. Black Best Friends help white heroines, but do they limit black actresses?" One unnamed source joked that celluloid BBFs should form a support group to save "woefully helpless white girls."
Here are the specs on the BBF: "They are gorgeous, independent, loyal and successful. They live or work with their friend but are not really around all that much except for well-timed moments when the heroine needs a dining companion or is in crisis. BBFs basically have very little going on, so they are largely available for such moments. And even though they are single or lack solid consistent relationships, BBFs are experts in the ways of the world, using that knowledge to comfort, warn or scold their BFF."
Of Hudson's "bossy" Louise, one article said the character had "an uncanny ability to help her boss get her life back in order."
Somehow this baby-faced beauty, who moves to the big city in search of love, has some natural aptitude to fix the perpetual-relationship trainwreck that is Carrie Bradshaw?
How exactly does Louise from St. Louis plan to pull this one off exactly?
Or more specifically, black magic?
It's no wonder most women of a certain hue never got into SATC. Instead many tuned in to Mara Brock Akil's Girlfriends, often rightly referred to as the black Sex and the City. Airing for eight seasons, Girlfriends followed the careers, sex lives and friendships of four (then three) women trying to make it big in the big city. Sound familiar? Except this time the chicks looked like us. And to be fair, just as SATC lacked main black characters, GFs lacked white ones—sans Toni's lovah Dr. Todd Garrett. Sound familiar?
It'll be interesting to see how the film will marry ingénue Louise to the BBF relationship genius Louise. The former role would be the most innovative. Finally a black woman who doesn't know everything about everything! A black woman who admits to being just as clueless and guileless as her white BFF.
What's funny is that Hudson has admitted to never watching the show before joining the cast. She was probably too busy keeping up with Joan and 'em.
Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root.