A recent article in Newsweek touched on the subject of why Hollywood tells troubled stories about blacks. Not to discredit the success of movies like Precious which just won big the other night at the Oscars, but why must we constantly see the struggles of the black community and how we have always “overcome” the obstacles set in front of us?
I have no issues with telling these powerful stories that would otherwise be swept under the rug. But what about the middle-of-the-road stories? You know which ones I’m talking about; the stories where there is no poverty, nobody on drugs, no incest or molestation. When do we get our stories of a loving family attacked by vicious spies because dad is a secret CIA Operative? Or the story about the lady whose husband was killed because he knew too much and she single handedly finds out what really went down and she gets even and comes out victorious in the end?
Oh thats right, we don’t have enough “talented” black actors aside from Will Smith, Denzel, Angela Bassett, Samuel L., or Halle Berry to play those roles! Yeah right! Hollywood is full of talented black actors/actresses just waiting to get their shot at a little limelight and recognition. The million dollar question is- will they ever get that chance if Hollywood is too afraid to step out of its comfort zone?
Movies like Precious have shown us that it’s okay to go outside of the norm and that safe isn’t always right!
We clearly see how Hollywood markets the black actor/actress. Just last year when the movie Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn was released in theaters, the promotional posters for the movie here in the U.S. included actor Faison Love and his cohort in the movie, Kali Hawk. Although their photo was waaaaaaaaay off in the back and very small, they were still included. When the promo poster for the movie was sent over to the U.K. to appear in theaters for the screening, wouldn’t you know it, Faison and Kali’s picture was nowhere to be found on the poster. The excuse? A spokesperson for Universal responded by stating, “it was done to simplify the poster to actors who are most [recognizable] in international markets.”
Really? That’s the excuse? So you mean to tell me that this movie would not have made the same amount of money if people in the U.K., who I might add has a black population of over 1.5 million, saw black images on the poster? I don’t believe that for a minute.
If Hollywood doesn’t start putting black actors/actresses in more positive Oscar winning roles how are people to recognize them more? It’s evident that people worldwide love watching movies period. Why not utilize all of your resources but spin it in a positive light instead of always the down trodden black story? We always talk about the disproportionate numbers of black actors/actresses used in Hollywood movies, but when we look at it, the talent is there. Instead of using Beyonce, who in my opinion still needs more acting lessons or needs to give it up altogether, why not Sanaa, or Nia, or Regina. Using Beyonce because she’s an international superstar doesn’t equate to a spectacular movie.
Hollywood has the wrong idea on how to properly epitomize black people. Of course they may know a little something but they’re still not getting it. Yes, our stories need to be told, but why suffocate us with the same thing over and over. We have the same stories as everyone else in the world.