Saturday, February 27, 2016

Topic Of The Day: John Oliver's Whitewashing Video

Hello, Bloggers, welcome to another episode of Topic Of The Day. For today's topic, I will continue the discussion of diversity in the industry. Not necessarily to the Oscars because this is more of an industry problem and the Oscars are just used as whipping boy in this whole situation.

Here is the link to the video:
http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/john-oliver-hollywood-white-washing

Anyways, talk show host John Oliver recently created a video that demonstrates the Hollywood whitewashing problem that has been going on quite often over the years, ranging from when Laurence Olivier donned blackface in Othello to when Emma Stone recently played a part Asian woman in Aloha. So even back in the old days, artists of color weren't given much legitimate opportunities to headline projects. But now, I think it's time for a change. Especially considering we have shows with talent of color at the center like Empire, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Orange Is The New Black, Jane The Virgin, and Mozart and the Jungle finding success.

Ever since the Oscar nominations have been announced, there have been a lot of more calls for diversity with even white actors like George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon wanting to see such progress. Here is what I have to say about it: Do it already! Actors like Clooney and Witherspoon have their own production companies where they could decide what films get greenlit and who stars in them. So when they are picking who can star in their films, they could cast more talent of color and make them front and center.

While they could be taking risks on unknown talents, it would be worth it if they made said unknown talents into breakthrough stars. Will Smith has made his public outcry over the Oscar nominations and announced he'll be taking part in the controversial boycott along with his wife Jada and Spike Lee. But until he stops giving showcases for his family and friends the greenlight, he can sit down. If he used his A-list clout to help out fellow talents of color, then I might take him more seriously.

The whitewashing debate also brings me back to the Hollywood Reporter roundtables and to me, those are a reflection of how the Oscar races in each major category will turn out. Reporter Stephen Galloway made an advanced apology over the lack of actresses of color, saying that there were no actresses of color in contention. Yeah, ever heard of Mya Taylor in Tangerine? Tessa Thompson in Creed? Bueller?? If it really aches you to see more diversity represented in said roundtable, look harder! Don't go through safer names like Helen Mirren or Jennifer Lawrence. Heck, even though she wasn't in contention this year, stop asking Amy Adams to come over. I love Amy Adams. But I've grown tired of seeing her at every recent roundtable whenever she has a movie in contention.

Same with the Directors roundtable which was filled with usual suspects like David O. Russell, Tom Hooper, and Quentin Tarantino. Why not just ask F. Gary Gray to promote Straight Outta Compton or Cary Fukunaga for Beasts of No Nation. Even though the film is based more on its screenplay, it would've been nice to see Ramin Behrani there for 99 Homes. The films of O. Russell, Hooper, and Tarantino were such non-starters so that makes their inclusions more of a head scratcher and seem like pure favoritism. It makes them no better than the Academy.

So to all these people who cry to help establish more diversity and have the opportunity to make it happen, I would say try harder but actually try! It's far easier said than done. So just get on it!

So those are the my thoughts on John Oliver's whitewashing video and how it's had me thinking about the whitewashing problem going on in Hollywood. Please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section on how you feel about it. Thanks for reading!