Reparations and Black Representation in Hollywood
Hollywood – the place where dreams come true! Even for a layman, the television and movie industry is a sort of escape route from reality. You can put on a movie and sit back and relax, forgetting all your worries and life turmoil for a few hours. We don’t realize this but Hollywood plays a major role in shaping the views and cultural beliefs when it comes to race and about people of color.
Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Viola Davis, Queen Latifah are just SOME of the big African-American names which are dominating Hollywood in style. Generally, we believe that talent is the driving force to get you a job in Hollywood. Sadly, this is not the case. For black people, this is not the case. The total representation of Black people in the American population is 46.8 million.
Even though the Black people have such a large representation in the population, when it comes to a career in TV and film, they don’t have sufficient presence. Apart from representation, Black people who are already working there are not happy with the way they are treated and find the industry unwelcoming.
So much so that more than 300 black artists and people of influence signed a letter. The letter demanded to bring a change when it comes to representation, racism and discrimination in Hollywood. The Letter was “Hollywood 4 Black Lives” and was started by the activist and actor Kendrick Sampson. This call for proving that Black Lives Matter was heard and supported by many big names like Billy Poter, Michael B.Jordan, Janelle Monae and many more.
Many people don’t even agree with the fact that there is any sort of discrimination in Hollywood. They will start telling you a long list of names of African-Americans and people of color who are working in Hollywood. That does sound a little comforting, but out of the industry of thousands, the list is very small and tiny. According to a recent survey, it is estimated that the film/TV industry is losing around 10 billion US dollars each year because of this discrimination.
Black talent is slowly being recognized in the movies and TV industry. When compared, movies with one or two black people cast in it did much better in terms of dollar value as compared to movies that did not have a single black actor. Having said that, at the directorial level, there is a lack of Black people. You will only find a handful of Black writers, directors and even producers. That is one aspect of Hollywood that is sort of shut off for people of color.
Sadly, a research done by Vox in 2016, it was seen that almost 62% of the TOTAL roles given to Black people depicted them as gang members and drug dealers etc. That shows how badly stereotyped the industry is.
We wish and hope to see a higher representation of the Black community in all aspects of Hollywood. Black actors and singers like Jay Z, Kanye West etc have already made it big. We hope that we see more people of color in the production and directorial positions too!