Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Robin Givens: Undefeated and Happy

Recently, while flipping through Time Warner's offerings, I stumbled upon the film, A Rage in Harlem. For those that remember, it featured Robin Givens, Forrest Whitaker, Danny Glover, and Gregory Hines in a funny 1950's crime story about a beautiful opportunist, a gullible mama's boy, and a trunk full of gold. Givens portrayed Immabelle, a cunning "gold-digger," and Whitaker, the naive and virgin undertaker, Jackson, who caught a love jones after she "put it on him."

On screen it was okay for Givens to be seen as manipulative, but several years before when art seem to imitate life in her volatile marriage to then, World Heavy Weight Champion, Mike Tyson, audiences were not amused. In fact, much of America--black folk included--was brutal in it's verbal attack on what it thought was a woman and her family taking advantage of a vulnerable sports hero. On the outside looking in, we seemed to allow celebrity interviews with Barbara Walters and flashy tabloid magazines to sway our judgements.

And now after several publicized episodes of violent behavior in Tyson's life, we realize we may have been too quick to judge. But the damage has already been done. The reputation of "gold-digger" followed Givens long after her divorce from Tyson. According Essence.com "in 1988 she was labeled The Most Hated Woman in America by several outlets after a CNN NewsNight viewer poll." In her new book, Grace Will Lead Me Home, she addresses that and opens up about her turbulent marriage to Tyson and its impact on her life and career.

Also in an interview with Essence.com, Givens talks about her new book, motherhood, and how she turned things around so her life story would not play out like a Lifetime movie. Her book is available now. And if you're an old skool black movie collector like myself then you got to add Rage in Harlem and Boomerang to your collection.


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