In the media storm that Jennifer Lawrence unleashed this week, referring to herself as Hollywood’s first female action star for starring in the “Hunger Games” franchise, she and some of the people jumping on Twitter for the Correct have forgotten the woman who arguably deserves this accolade: trailblazing black actress Pam Grier.
Known as the “Queen of Blaxploitation”, Grier broke new ground in Hollywood by presenting a series of low-budget action films in the early 1970s, such as “Foxy Brown”, “Coffy” and “Friday Foster”. . Now 73, she is credited with redefining the way women, especially historically marginalized black women, were viewed in popular culture. She played female protagonists who take the initiative to investigate crimes, seek justice, and right wrongs, usually doing all the fighting, shooting, and other action moves traditionally done by men.
Director Quentin Tarantino hailed Grier as cinema’s first female action star and built his acclaimed 1997 film, “Jackie Brown,” around her 1970s screen persona. Grier is also the recent subject of the TCM’s popular documentary podcast, “The Plot Thickens”.
Yahoo said the six-part series about Grier’s life and career “provides a necessary reminder of (his) importance in shaking up the traditional image of an action hero.”
But elsewhere in mainstream discourse, Grier’s acting legacy seems to have been forgotten, as evidenced by Lawrence speaking about the significance of his involvement in “The Hunger Games” franchise in a conversation with Viola Davis for the series.” Variety’s Actors on Actors with Davis. .
It may be “recency bias” or something more insidious, but people commenting on Lawrence’s remarks also ignored Grier when they offered examples of female stars who preceded Lawrence in the realm of acting. ‘stock. Most people have named white women who have starred in mainstream studios, including Sigourney Weaver, for playing Ellen Ripley in the “Alien” franchise, from 1979; Linda Hamilton for “The Terminator” movies; and Angelina Jolie in the “Tomb Raider” movies in the 2000s.
Jennifer Lawrence: “I remember when I was doing The Hunger Games, nobody ever starred a woman in an action movie, because it wouldn’t work.”
lol wut pic.twitter.com/SBPmwQ4iG4
— Padoru Kung Fu Man (@KungFuMan316) December 8, 2022
It was hard to find many mentioning Grier, as one Grier fan pointed out;
Twitter is where people get really mad at Jennifer Lawrence for ignoring Signourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton, while I get really mad at them for ignoring Pam Grier. pic.twitter.com/JyQd9qSzuE
— Allan “Is THIS my last tweet?” Mott (@HouseofGlib) December 7, 2022
Even moviegoers who included Grier in their mentions didn’t single out Grier for coming ahead of everyone else:
Guess she just forgot about Michelle Yeoh, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hamilton, Mila Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, Uma Thurman, Angelina Jolie, Pam Grier and the countless others before you. Or maybe you just chose not to research? pic.twitter.com/mwJlcFafqS
— Jorge Rojas Plata (@strangefluxx) December 7, 2022
The controversy was initially sparked on Wednesday when Variety published Lawrence’s remarks about Katniss Everdeen’s role in ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise, from 2012. Lawrence said, “I remember when I was doing ‘Hunger Games’ , no one had ever put a woman in the lead of an action movie because it wouldn’t work – because we were told that girls and boys could both relate to a leading role masculine, but boys could not identify with a female lead.
To Lawrence’s credit, she clarified her comments about female action stars on Thursday, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she “blundered” while speaking and that her meaning “was wrong.”
Before Variety published their interview with Lawrence and Davis, who plays an 18th-century African warrior in “The Woman King,” The “Daily Show” shared their interview with Grier. Host Trevor Noah showed he was aware of Grier’s legacy when he praised her as the “original action star when black women weren’t allowed to be portrayed like that.”
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) December 5, 2022
Grier responded by explaining — as she does on the TCM podcast — that she grew up in “the Black West” in Denver. She also spent a lot of time on her grandfather’s ranch, where she learned to ride horses and her grandfather instilled in her the belief that girls and women should be self-reliant.
“I’m from the Black West,” Grier told Noah. “I wanted to bring that culture to cinema, not pontificate on anyone with filters and be scared of me, a woman walking in a man’s shoes but for everyone to feel comfortable,” Grier said, explaining how her grandfather said, “I wanted you, all the girls to be self-sufficient. And if a woman can do anything, a man will respect you.