I learned of Hope & Redemption: The Lena Baker Story when I saw Tichina Arnold on the Monique Show speaking of a movie that she would be starring in. Before then, I had no clue as to who Lena Baker was. I had never heard the name before and I definitely did not know that she was an African-American woman who had been executed in the state of Georgia in 1945. I later found out that Lena Baker was the first and only woman to be sentenced to death by the electric chair in the state of Georgia.
After reading the movie’s synopsis and viewing a trailer of the movie, I knew that it was definitely worth watching and even worth adding to my movie collection.
The Lena Baker story is one that is heart wrenching and sad. The movie recounts Lena’s life from her poverty stricken childhood, to a young lady trying to make easy money and then to a woman charged with capital murder for killing her employer.
Just when it seems Lena may be able to forget the sorrow of her past, she is called to work for Elliot Arthur (Peter Coyote), a tyrannical white man known in Cuthbert for his angry disposition and drinking. Over time, Lena and Elliot develop a highly-charged relationship, filled with alcohol, cruelty and a troubling need for one another.
Elliot’s physical and mental abuse continues to escalate. He often kidnaps Lena from her home and imprisons her for weeks, keeping her from her children and mother. One particularly hot and humid night, Lena finally stands up for herself and attempts to break free from his bondage. A struggle ensues and the gun they tussle over accidentally goes off. Elliot Arthur, a white man, is shot by Lena Baker, an African-American woman. She is arrested soon after by the town’s sympathetic sheriff (Michael Rooker) who is helpless in the face of social mores of the time.
An Open Marriage is defined as: A marriage relationship where the husband and wife have no reservations about one another being sexually involved with other people.
Which makes me raise my eyebrow and say hmmm…why is it even called a marriage then?
Monique is the newest hot topic when it comes to open marriages. In a Barbara Walter’s Oscar Night Special Monique talks about her role as Mary Jones in the movie Precious and how she was so able to closely relate to her character as an abusive mother due to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother during her childhood. Concerning the openness of her marriage, Monique explained to Walters that cheating is not a deal breaker for her and her husband Sidney Hicks. The comedian/actresses says that she has not had sex outside of her marriage with Sidney…but she could and Sidney could also have sex outside of their marriage…for them cheating does not mean that the marriage has to end. Monique even goes on to say that even if he were to have numerous flings, that does not mean she would automatically call it quits.
Watch the interview here —> Monique Talks w/Barbara Walters about her Open Marriage
Monique and Sidney have been added to the list of Hollywood couples who have admitted that they have open marriages. This list also includes Will & Jada Pinkett who went on the defensive after they caught the backlash of admitting to their open marriage.
The main question I have for people who commit to the married life, but allow outside sexual relationships is this: Why get married in the first place? Why marry someone if it is okay to see other people. I thought the point of getting married was vowing to be with this one person till death do you part. To love them and cherish them and forsake all others. But I guess when it comes to open marriages staying faithful isn’t as important as sticking with your spouse through thick and thin, which may mean various affairs, numerous partners and whatever else comes along with this acceptable package called “open marriage.”
In my opinion allowing your spouse to have sexual relationships outside of the marriage is a clear sign that either you feel that they will cheat anyway so you would rather know and accept it or be surprised…and accept it?? OR one or both parties know that they cannot commit to being faithful in the relationship so they decide that seeing other people is not a deal breaker. If it happens it happens since I, you or we have not or will not commit to being faithful.
Personally I have two words (well one word lol) that sums up Open Marriages in a nutshell. That word is BULLSHIT.
If you feel that yourself or your mate is not capable or willing to commit to living the rest of their life with you without committing adultery maybe you shouldn’t get married. Why not just date? Why enter into a marriage (which plainly states one man and one woman) when you are going to cheat or give your partner a permission slip to cheat.
By the way, is it even considered cheating when the outside sexual affair is done by a person involved in an open marriage? If you have permission to do something, I would assume that if you go out and do it (or from the mouth of Monique do it NUMEROUS times) it isn’t cheating. I would assume in the eyes of a person who allows their husband/wife to sleep with other people it is just that…sex.
I am still finding it hard to understand why people are getting married and saying that adultery is acceptable. Adultery should not be an acceptable portion of the marriage package. Maybe I am just old-fashioned, but I thought marriage meant NO sex outside the committed relationship between husband and wife. Not as much sex; when, where and how you would like it while you are married? Like I said, I’m confused because saying you have an open marriage is like saying that you will accept anything your spouse dishes out and that even though you may not like it you accept it because humans are sexual creatures and shouldn’t be limited to one sexual partner. Ok well if that is the case and you can accept infidelity, do you have any limits on what you will accept. If you have no problem admitting that adultery is not a deal breaker is abuse a deal breaker? Is abandonment a deal breaker? What actually can you call foul on in your marriage if you okay adultery? What limits and boundaries can you set if you allow the line to be crossed on the most important and private boundary of all which is the committment between a husband and wife?
In the end I think it comes down to this simple statement- They accept it because they feel like they have to. Either I accept you cheating or I don’t accept you cheating and you do it anyway. And if that is the case I say to these people…let’s take marriage seriously. To so many people marriage is just a joke. Something you jump into because of your lust and jump out of because of your change of heart. Entering into an open marriage is just another example of how less of value people have for marriage these days.