In the past box office year we’ve seen an influx of recognition shown to what has been categorized by some as the “Black film.” With the success of movies such as “Think Like A Man,” “The Best Man Holiday,” and “About Last Night,” and the rising stardom of talents such as Kevin Hart, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyongo, (two of whom graced the cover of last month’s Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair), Hollywood and everyone who idolizes its stars have been forced to open their eyes to two facts I’ve known all my life.
1. Talent has no race requirement.
2. Films are films.
Although many of the films receiving prestigious awards and critical acclaim are being heralded as “human stories” it goes without saying that every story has the potential to touch someone. Whether it’s the harrowing subject matter of films like “Fruitvale Station” and “12 Years a Slave” or the comic relief provided by “Ride Along” there is no reason to operate within the film industry under the assumption that movies require a White protagonist to do well at the box office.
The fact that the cast of The Breakfast Club was all White would never deter me from watching the film. Some of my favorite movies are indeed chock full of White folk. (Home Alone, Final Destination, Terminator 2, Warrior, Cruel Intentions, Bring it On, Scream, The Silver Linings Playbook, etc.) But I never thought about it that way. And I have a feeling that Hollywood has been greatly overestimating the number of people who have.
It’s no secret most films cater to a White audience but that doesn’t stop Black people from not only seeing but enjoying them. The reverse scenario is proving not only to be possible but PROBABLE. Things like music, art and film are universal. Sometimes they are simply meant for entertainment but the power that comes with the ability to make or break a potential blockbuster project is nothing to take lightly.
I often comment on the responsibility of artists of color to their people, their culture and the youth as far as their content, presence and involvement in social issues is concerned. The same responsibility falls on the studios and companies responsible for major motion pictures.
How do you feel about movies starring African American actors or telling stories about POC being categorized based on the ethnicity of the cast as opposed to simply the film genre?
Why do you think Hollywood has such a hard time believing such stories can bring in revenue?
Do you think Black actors and professionals within the film industry could do more to highlight our talents and stories?
Do you think this is a dead issue? Chime in and take the poll below!