Who is Precious? Precious is Clareece P. Jones, a 16 year old, obese, illiterate, African American girl. She was raped by her father, abused by her mother, taught in substandard schools, and pregnant with her second child in a Lee Daniel’s move based on the book Push by poet Sapphire.
As I watched the story of this girl who grew up in Harlem, and felt the general discomfort in the room as the disturbing scenes played on and on, I began to repeatedly ask myself, who is Precious? From what one gathers Precious has no chance at life. She was collateral damage from historical events that were way bigger than her and her family. Even though one understands this, I kept wondering, do I know Precious?
I am not Precious. I am an African American girl who grew up in a wealthy white suburb. I am a college graduate on my way to an Ivy League graduate school. For me, Precious is as realistic as ET. Her situation is alien to me. I live on the Upper East Side about 80 blocks from where Precious grew up yet we are worlds apart. Precious is no one I know, but Lee Daniels is adamant that Precious is significant.
Had this movie been shown pre-Obama era, would there have been outrage at Lee Daniels (himself and African American)? Even though an African American was now one of the most powerful people in the world, sitting in my seat surrounded by mostly white faces, I felt a tinge of betrayal. How could Lee Daniels put our business out there for public consumption? Who is he to be the authority on the black community? Perhaps the better question is, who is the best person (if anyone) to ask these questions? Then again, at least Daniels dares to ask some provocative questions.