As per my last post, I have been very busy with other projects which is why I have not been writing much at all. Even though I still watch what’s happening everywhere, even if the intent to write is there, the energy isn’t. The thing with starting your own business, you’re always told how much insane amounts of hard work is involved but until you actually start getting your hands dirty, you don’t realize how EXHAUSTING it really is. You’re constantly researching, networking, constantly meeting new contacts, following up and starting the process, over and over again. The thing with networking, it’s like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets but at times, some aspects of it can eerily parallel with what is happening in the larger world.
Ben, don’t worry about it. It’s all good.
Now, the superficial, flighty side of me only pays attention to things like the Oscars as a fluffy distraction. They are just films after all, here today and forgotten about by next year. However the blatant lack of diversity and opportunities for persons of color or other minorities in the entertainment business and film-making industry as a whole has always rankled my nerves. Do any of you remember the show “Romper Room”
? I used to watch it as a kid and I remember with sadness when the host would call out names of the kids she saw through the Magic Mirror at the end of the show. I knew I had one of those names which would never be called out.
I don’t understand why we’re living in a world which accepts a 5th re-boot of the Spiderman or Batman franchises in as many years but doesn’t see anything wrong in the lack of mainstream films, actors, narratives or stories focusing on, empowered and strong women,
persons from the LGBT community,
I think the last Muslim to ever be nominated in an acting category was Omar Sharif for “Dr. Zhivago”, where he played a Russian
or Native Americans
Personally, I’ll watch “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” or “Thelma and Louise” any day over “Die Hard”.
If anything, whenever Hollywood does cast someone “ethnic”, it’s usually a form of tokenism
, at best, and always some kind of secondary or tertiary role, never a main one. At worst, it’s just plain ignorance and racism. Hollywood also has a long and ugly history of using “brown face” and similar devices in films.
donned brown face to play an Indian girl in “Black Narcissus”.
Sir Alec Guinness
donned brown face to play an Arab king in “Lawrence of Arabia” and a Hindu Brahmin priest in “A Passage to India”.
And who can ever forget the most embarrassing example of all, Mickey Rooney
playing a Japanese man in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”?
You can’t pay me enough money to go see this movie voluntarily.
Michael Cera in “Youth in Revolt”
I would love to see a Hollywood and a viewing public that sees and can accept a manly hunk like Idris Elba go toe-to-toe for leading-man roles with other equally manly hunks like Clive Owen or Mylène Jampanoï
becoming a Bond girl as easily as Denise Richards.
I think it should go to Idris or Clive.
It’s not just film. Activism around diversity, for the moment, is happening in the margins but it is inching closer and closer to the mainstream. I see this in the corporate world now and particularly in my networking discussions. Corporate culture has always been very strict, regimented, formal, conservative and about keeping the status quo. If you’re 1) male
and 3) tall
, you’ve basically got it made and you’ll more easily be considered for leadership and managerial positions. However, if you’re female, ethnic and petite (like me for instance) you have to work doubly hard to even get a chance to get your foot in the door, let alone an interview. Industrial psychologists call it the mirroring effect. The gist of it being that you will probably hire and consider people who are most like you first
because that’s your comfort zone and it takes a huge amount of work to really see your own inherent racial biases clearly
and work against them, which most managers either don’t have the time nor interest to do.
It’s a shame really that so many people don’t get it or don’t want to get it. I’ve already written why
even in nature and in ecosystems, diversity is usually key to ensuring long-term survival of certain species and the ecosystem itself. Homogeneity is a dangerous place to be in for extended periods of time. I’m of the persuasion that the closer human systems come closer to mimicking natural ecosystems, the better off we’ll all be. That goes for the corporate world and the film industry as well.
Don’t believe me?
Watch this and really pay attention to what Ted Carns is saying in between his lines about disposability and setting an example to others.