Laz Alonso has made his rounds around Hollywood. From soldier in “Jarhead” to actor in “Avatar,” he’s no stranger to hit movies. Now, as he headlines his new film “Jumping The Broom” he’s speaking out about the lack of Black films coming out of Hollywood.
GlobalGrind had the opportunity to attend dinner with Laz Alonso at Pranna in New York City hosted by 135th Agency. Laz shared his view on the current state of Black Hollywood, read what he had to say in his own words:
“One time when I was growing up, Black Hollywood was a thriving business you had movies like “Boomerang”, “Coming To America”, and “Jason’s Lyric.” We had at least 5 or 6 African-American movies a year that was telling our story to our audience. Now if you look at the state of black Hollywood when it comes to film, in television we’ve made tremendous strides, we have shows like “The Game” and my show “Breakout Kings” on A&E.
When I moved to L.A. back in 2001, the NAACP along with Rev Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were coming to Hollywood to make a very poignant statement that the television shows that are on the air right now do not accurately respresent the fiber or the culture of the colors that we see in America.
There are a lot more African-Americans then what are represented on your television. Nowadays you see Forrest Whittaker having his own show, you see Lawrence Fishburne on CSI and the list goes on. We’ve made tremendous strides in Hollywood as far as television is concerned, that needs to happen on the film side. It’s something that I’m optimistic and I believe is going to happen.
When I did “Avatar? it really bewildered me when I would read these comments of people upset that James Cameron casted a majority African-American cast in this 300 million dollar budget film. How often do African-Americans have the opportunity to be in a film with $300 million in the budget? How can you be mad at that? We need more James Camerons.
Laz Alonzo’s State of Black Hollywood Continues On The Next Page.
We need more films that allow African-Americans to play leading roles and showcase their talents in what we do. Which really respesents what the United States really is, we really need to come out and support films like “Jumping The Broom.” We need to support films by Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry catches a lot of heat but he is the only guy right now putting out consistant product that’s telling our story whether you like it or not. Support the guy.
The only way that we can get more African-American projects produced and distributed through the major Hollywood system is by going to the box office and supporting our films. On opening weekend and the following weekend. We can’t sit at home and wait for it to come out on DVD, we can’t download it for free online. We can’t buy the bootleg at the barber shop.
My mom, first movie I was casted in, “Jarhead,” My mom bought the bootleg! She called me and she was so proud! She had got “Jarhead” before it hit theaters, that’s how proud she was of her baby. So you know I had to educate my mom that she was actually hurting my career and then she felt terrible.
A lot of time some people just don’t know how big that hurts Black movies. If you do that to a $300 million movie it still hurts it, but when you do this to a film like “Jumping The Broom,” every dollar counts. So we have to go out and support our films because I feel like we are in a crisis state.
Right now there are only two studios that are producing African-American films. That’s it, two! In all of Hollywood, that’s Sony and Lions Gate. The only way to get the message out there and let them know is by making these films a profitable entity that more studios will say, you know what, there is an audience for thi,s they aren’t just going to wait for the DVD they are actually going to go out and support this.”
Laz Alonzo and Pooch Hall at Pranna in New York City.