Queen Latifah has gone on the record as suggesting that Gone With the Wind should be "gone" entirely. Notably, Latifa portrays Gone With the Wind star Hattie McDaniel in the Ryan Murphy's Netflix series Hollywood. While speaking to the Associated Press, Latifa commented on the recent controversy surrounding HBO Max removing the film but vowing to add it again with additional historical context.
"Let Gone With the Wind be gone with the wind," she said. McDaniel played Mammy in the classic film and won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the performance. She was the first Black American ever to win an Oscar. Notably, the film has not yet returned to HBO Max, but ET notes that when it does, it will include an introduction by Jacqueline Stewart, the host of Turner Classic Movies program Silent Sunday Nights. More importantly, however, Stewart is also a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Latifa went on to speak about the circumstances surrounding McDaniel winning her Oscar, saying, "They didn't even let her in the theater until right before she got that award. Someone came outside and brought her into the auditorium. She wasn't even allowed to sit in there. And then she had to read a speech that was written by a studio. You know that's not what the hell she wanted to say." The rapper-turned-actress then added, "Then after that, all she could do was play the same kinds of roles. So, the opportunities at that time and the way that those in power in that business were relegating us and marginalizing us and not allowing us to grow and thrive after that was just terrible. And a lot of that is still around today."
In addition to Latifa, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley has also called for HBO Max to keep Gone With the Wind off the streaming service, referring to the film as "historical fiction." While speaking to ET, Ridley said, "The fact that it represents something that really never existed. ...People talk about, 'Well, if you take away the film, you're erasing history, making history go away. This is not history! Saying it's history is kind of like saying, well, Spider-Man was set in New York so it must be real. The Civil War happened. Yes, there were plantations, but this is as removed from history as any science fiction film or man on a high castle."
Ridley went on to clarify that he is not saying he wants Gone With the Wind "to go away" entirely, or have "its Oscars taken away." He simply states that he sees it as "a good thing" if "we have to change our viewing habit to accommodate something that sentimentalized a past that never was."