The New York Times Nails This One…
Writer Melena Ryzik interviewed 27 of Hollywoods elite, rising stars, screenwriters, A-listers, and veterans about the enormous lack of diversity in Hollywood. This article is so good, it made me jealous I didn’t come up with it first! Actors, directors, and more weigh in on; “What Its Really Like To Work In Hollywood (If You’re Not A Straight White Man)”.
The article uses condensed interviews from some of Hollywoods elite to bring awareness about the lack of diversity for Women, People of Colour, the LGBTQ, and even Body Discrimination.
In The Industry? Have A Similar Story? Email: Hollywooddiversity@nytimes.com
What I enjoyed most about this article is that each delivered stories of their own experiences, stories that we would’ve never heard of had they not. These stories are very similar to things I’ve experienced as an Actor in the industry. Actors like Wendell Pierce (Actor, “The Wire,” “Grease: Live”, “Confirmation” (coming on HBO), and Teyonah Parris (Actress, “Chi-Raq,” “Survivor’s Remorse”) both Juilliard graduates expressing their discrimination early on before they hit it big really resonates with me and will speak to millions in college experiencing the same thing! Windell spoke on being casted for parts that was 20 years older than he was at the time and that most B.L.A.C.K people were expected to play older, and Teyonah had to force Juillard to do an August Wilson play by banning together and showing them it’s possible, and had she not, they would’ve never put on the production.
I remember being in college and for the first time standing up for people of colour by arguing with one of the professors after she demanded the class audition for the next play on campus. The play you ask? An all German Speaking play set in the mid 1900s. The flyers even said, if you speak German that’s a plus! My question to her was simple, why does this school continuously put on plays like this when they have a B.L.A.C.K population , including Asians, Latinos, etc.? Her response is what made us start arguing, there’s only but so much I can take. She said; “we decide what we will produce a year in advance and the majority rules.” It was when I understood what she meant by “majority” that sparked me into a rage. The majority, meaning there are more white actors and theatre interest than there are people of colour. I screamed, I yelled, and I told her I will not embarrass myself and audition for a play in German of the 1900s and that she and the school should make an effort to produce contemporary plays that does not exclude anyone! Let’s just say the next year, there were changes made, and I’d like to think I had something to do with that….
Here are some excerpts from The New York Times;
“I was 18 and putting myself on tape for a movie I really wanted. I got that phone call: They cast a Latino male in another role in the film; they’re not looking to cast [a Latina]. So I defiantly bleached my hair blond, painted my face white and made the audition tape. I never heard back. I just remember feeling so powerless. What do you do when someone says, “Your color skin is not what we’re looking for”? Let me tell you: Blond does not suit me. I try not to prove my point on audition tapes anymore.” –AMERICA FERRERA
“I didn’t speak Spanish [growing up]. I’m ninth generation. I mean, I’m as American as apple pie. I’m very proud of my heritage. But I remember moving to L.A. and auditioning and not being Latin enough for certain roles. Some white male casting director was dictating what it meant to be Latin. He decided I needed an accent. He decided I should [have] darker-colored skin. The gatekeepers are not usually people of color, so they don’t understand you should be looking for way more colors of the rainbow within that one ethnicity.” – EVA LONGORIA
“[For "Dr. Ken”], just in case there was some chatter — among producers, not with Sony or ABC — that maybe you better get a white wife, Albert [T[Tsai, who plays his son]as the first guy I cast. There’s no way I can have a white wife if I get Albert. So I got to get an Asian daughter, an Asian wife. I was not doing it for the cause; I was doing it to reflect my family. It had to be real.” – KEN JEONG
“The discussion came up when we were doing [t[the TV series]Living Single” that [t[the cast needs]o lose weight. [M[My manager]hakim would get the call, and it would be laughter by the time it got to me, because there’s no way. I felt I represented a woman out there who should get to see somebody who weighs about as much as she does.” – QUEEN LATIFAH
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