Before you shoot the messenger, work with me here. 10 years ago we came out of the 90’s. That decade was filled with so many amazing black movies, Boys In The Hood, Menace 11 Society, Set it off, Soul Food, Dead Presidents, The Best Man…and the list goes on. Not to mention TV shows. It’s no secret the REALITY SHOW killed the TV SHOW. They’re cheaper to make, so it makes perfect business sense. Now if we’re supposed to learn from our past, the 2000’s should’ve been something new and groundbreaking. And it was…For music. At the end of the first decade of the 2000’s, the music label isn’t needed like it once was. With the internet, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and ITunes, labels are only REALLY needed for distribution. The MUSIC MIDDLE MAN died off in the 2000’s. Now back to Black Hollywood…
I’ve always admired Drew Barrymore. One of my favorite movies this year was a movie called WHIP IT. Drew directed (her directorial debut) and it starred Ellen Page, and Eve. Cute movie; made for nothing. It got me thinking; Drew has produced her own films forever. And she’s never been afraid or intimidated to cast other beautiful women in a film with her (Charlies Angels, which was also produced by Demi Moore). So, what the hell is our problem? Why aren’t there 10 Rainforest Films, Tyler Perry’s, Spikes, Malcolm Lee’s, Lee Daniels, Gina Prince-Bythwoods, or Drew Barrymores? (Google is your friend if you don’t know these people). And the even bigger question is, “Have Black Actors become comfortable, just being ACTORS”? Instead of controlling our own future? Waiting for that next offer, for that next audition. Are we just HIRED WORK? Work with me here.
Picture this, some of your favorite black actors in an amazing movie, a few months later, more of your favorite black actors in another dope ass movie. It’s not that far out of reach, if we (myself included) would invest in ourselves. Or, reach out to each other, and make it happen. Now is not the time to settle for simply, GETTING WORK. We need to be creating our own opportunities. Not just for us, but for the younger actors of color coming up behind us. Yes, the studio plays a major part in this. After all, a studio has to say yes, or “Greenlight” a film before it can get made. So, as a filmmaker, the “NO”, can be very discouraging. But we shouldn’t complain. We should adapt. If you have a film, that’s already done, with a few A list black actors, a studio is going to pick it up. The problem is, we don’t reach out to each other to make this happen. So, we “BLACK HOLLYWOOD” are our own worst enemy.
Tia and Tamera, have been producing their own ish forever. Tatyana Ali has a webseries on BET. God Willing next month a short film written by me, will be produced in ATL with the help of Rainforest Films. Imagine, if we were ALL on that page. The middle man (the studio) would be obsolete. Well, maybe not totally, but you feel me right? Looking at our music counterparts, when will we learn? I’m a writer. That’s my deal for this next decade. I challenge my fellow thespians of color to get with the program, and start collaborating behind the scenes. After all, waiting for a hand out from the man, is so 1950. We’re in 2010. Act accordingly, and let’s change the way film is made for the next decade.