Treme’s Wendell Pierce Takes On The Help

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 31: Actor Wendell Pierce promotes "Treme: The Complete First Season" at Best Buy Union Square on March 31, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Wendell Pierce Photo: Andrew H. Walker/2011 Getty Images

As audiences continue to debate whether The Help is an inadequate racial drama or a crowd-pleasing discussion starter, Treme actor Wendell Pierce has joined the fray. "The movie The Help was painful to watch," he tweeted last night. "This passive segregation lite was hurtful." Pierce went to a screening with his mother, who told her son for the first time that she, too, had once been "the help"; she was angry that the movie was sentimentalized and didn't touch on the curtailed education options for black children that often steered them toward a lifetime of maid service. "[I was] watching the film in UptownNewOrleans to the sniffles of elderly white people while my 80year old mother was seething," wrote Pierce. "She told me how she wasn't allowed in the kitchen. She couldn't eat during a 12 hour shift. Only left overs if there was any. She couldn't drink water from the kitchen but had to go to the faucet out doors." Even more problematic for Pierce was the presence of Emma Stone's lead character: "Hollywood loves the formula: the Great White Savior. I am tired of this cliche. These black women didn't need a young white woman be empowered." [Wendell Pierce/Twitter]