Unless you are a massive fan of the Saw series or trashy reality TV- then you are probably unfamiliar with Tanedra Howard. She happened to be a part of little show on VH1 called Scream Queens- a reality show where mostly talent-less girls vied for a spot in the upcoming Saw movie. Tanedra beat out the competition and survived weeks of cattiness- and even a little racism before she was crowned VH1's first ever Scream Queen. While the show was mostly compromised of girls with little to no acting skills whatsoever- and girls who had probably never seen an actual horror movie- Tanedra was a notable stand out from the beginning. I will be honest and say I know pretty much nothing about her- but when I came across this interview from VH1 I found my interest to increase quite a bit.
It turns out that Tanedra had very little acting training despite a few classes here and there. She also isn't really a horror fan and would much prefer acting in dramas. This made me laugh a bit because I thought of how many notable actors today had their first role in a horror movie (See Chris's post about it here on Fascination with Fear). I'm not saying Tanedra has the potential to make it big- in fact I did not see her performance in Saw VI so I'll never know- but she has been cast in Saw VII so perhaps she did something right after all.
One big thing that I saw get brought up a lot in Tanedra's interview was this idea of racism amongst the girls. I find it quite strange that people are still using racism as insults in this day and age but then again this is trashy reality TV and the producers probably paid the girl in question once or twice to start something. Anyways- a very interesting question was brought up in regards to Tanedra's worry about being the only Black girl- and how stereotypically the Black characters in horror movies are the first to die. This stereotype is almost non existent now if you think about it especially when we look at movies like 28 Days Later and Night of the Living Dead. If anything years and years of horror making has taught us that there are no longer any rules. Stereotypes are constantly being thwarted and women are kicking mens butts, and sometimes men kick women's butts- it's all part of a lovely cycle. Anyways- this interview in particular makes me realize how un-horror orientated VH1 and this show really is! Half of the girls on this show only were on it- to gain reality show success- and it's kind of insulting.
I think I keep diverging here but what I'm trying to say is- it's funny that this interviewer is insisting on Black stereotypes and what not- when Tanedra was the only Black contestant that "survived" this competition and beat out all those tramps. The show may be flawed- but Tanedra surely seemed like one of the more grounded and sensible of the bunch- and the main thing here is that she won because of her talent. She seems like a well rounded, and smart girl-but with a background in reality TV I'm not sure how far she'll get- and that's just how sad our world has become unfortunately. For the most part I think she follows the Morgan Freeman school of thought in regards to racism-
I didn’t want it to seem like I was struggling for all the black actresses. Don’t get me wrong: I love it when little African American girls write me to tell me I’m their inspiration, but I want to be an inspiration for everybody. There are a lot of people of all kinds out there who don’t have a chance. Who don’t have a resume or training, but innate ability. That’s who I want to represent.
where she doesn't really make it about race, which in hind sight is the way to go. People need to stop insisting that people are cast in something because of their race- and start realizing that acting is about talent- (or boobs... but usually talent) or the person. It may take some time- but sooner or later people will realize that we all have the same potential to be killed by an axe wielding psychopath regardless of race or sex.
I think what people latched onto was when I said, “It’s my talent, not my color.” I had to go on the message boards to clarify that. They auditioned me and they liked me because of my talent not because, hey, let’s get her in here because we need a black.