You think you know, but you have no idea what it’s like to be Black in Hollywood.
Before Shonda Rhimes introduced Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating to the world, the most popular Black lawyer on TV was Claire Huxtable, male or female. Let that sink in.
Sunday night’s historic Emmy victory for Viola Davis is being overshadowed by the racist comments from General Hospital actress Nancy Lee Grahn. Now, this is not to say that Nancy is an out-and-out racist, I doubt that very much, but her initial thoughts on what Viola had to say were indeed racist.
All your work can come crashing down just off one whimsical tweet.
On the season finale of Saturday Night Live, which aired on March 15th of this year, Louis CK admitted something interesting:
“I’m not racist, however, I do have mild racism. It’s the best I can do coming out of the ’70s.”
I like Louis CK because he gives us a glimpse into how White people think when we’re not around. Their thoughts are singed with the after-effects of racism and White privilege. That’s why Hulk Hogan dropped the N-bomb, then defended his actions with “I’m not a racist.” It’s this ideology that fueled Matt Damon’s comments about diversity, and why Idris Elba is too street to play James Bond.
Racism is the foundation of America and until now, there have only been minor renovations to this wonderful creation.
Blacks in Hollywood have come a long way and have overcome a tremendous amount already. This summer for the first time, three “Black” movies took the top spot at the box office in consecutive weeks. This generation is witnessing a lot of firsts for Black people. On the small screen, diversity has reigned supreme for the last few years; TV has embraced color more than ever.
It’s all good until a Black person points out, ‘hey, things are not fixed yet.’ Black Hollywood has been beating this dead horse for years, telling us to support Black film, and Hollywood will make more movies for us.
That mantra has been paying off, but things are changing too slowly.
It only took almost one hundred years for TV to become diverse. Television was created in the 1920s, and we went 67 Emmy Award shows until a Black woman won an award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama. She can’t even win that without White privilege reluctant to accept the change. Today, Nancy learned the world is bigger than just you and your problems. We all have a fight, and you shouldn’t knock anyone for drawing attention to their battle for greatness.
Hollywood is getting better. There are movies about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Nina Simone, and Jesse Owens being made as we speak. These are all steps in the right direction, but it’s not done yet.
Triumphs for Black actors are popping up left and right. John Boyega is the lead in the upcoming Star Wars, Michael B. Jordan has Creed – a Rocky reboot that could tie him up for a few films, not to mention Chadwick Boseman being cast as Black Panther, adding him into Marvel’s domination of comic movies.
Still, Taraji P. Henson said it best in an exclusive posted on GlobalGrind, “We are in 2015 and we are still saying the first African-American anything.” Later she added, “Now we are over it, and now what?”
Yes, America. Now what?
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty