A Modest Proposal: Hollywood Blackout Edition
Although there were a few pieces regarding the issue before the Oscars, my post last week was simply one of many “Hey, John Ridley [and Steve McQueen] don’t really seem to like [American] black people at all and maybe their film reflects that” articles and write-ups that appeared in the days just after 12YAS cleaned up at the Academy Awards. In the week since I last wrote here, I’ve also seen trailers for a few upcoming movies to help entertain us during the cinematic doldrums between awards season and the release of summer blockbusters. And it seems that Hollywood is looking towards the Good Book for some inspiration. Check out these two trailers:
Noah, starring Russell “Are you not entertained?!” Crowe
Son of God, starring that lady who was in that show with Della Reese my great-grandmother used to watch and some white people I don’t know.
It’s 2014 and Noah and Jesus are still white. I can’t even be mad. I can only laugh–and that’s not because I want to cry or anything. In fact, the combination of Hollywood’s adoration of 12YAS written and directed by a couple of (self-)hating black dudes and its continued whitewashing of biblical figures as to not freak out white audiences got me thinking: How about Hollywood just get all the way white?
Face it. Hollywood is never going to tell the stories of black people “accurately” and, no matter the historical evidence, Jesus and the rest of the biblical crew are never going to have any noticeable melanin. If Disney, in its GREATEST. MOVIE . EVER! #nodebate, saw fit to use a white boy to voice a young African cub, but got a black boy to do the singing parts then there is very little hope for representations of black folks and other people of color on the silver screen that would not cause us to simply shake our heads. So, I’m proposing that white people star in all of the movies. Even the ones about black people.
That’s right. All white people–with no black face. Even in “race-themed” joints.Give me Geena Davis instead of Viola Davis. Bob Marley biopic? Call up Ben Affleck. Get a time machine and cast another dude with an accent as Nelson Mandela. (Hello, Hugh Jackman!) The story of the Little Rock Nine? Time for a new Brat Pack. Picture it: Rosa Parks starring Julia Roberts in the the title role. You know how bonkers the Academy would go if Brad Pitt managed to star as Denmark Vesey and John Brown
at the same damn time in the same year? You know how many nominations that would garner for him? The films would only be rivaled by his wife’s (Angelina Jolie) turn as Harriet Tubman.
I understand that my suggestion would mean that a lot of black actors wouldn’t be working. But face it, if Tyler Perry ain’t hollering, they’re not really getting calls, anyway. Still, certain beloved non-British, beloved black actors, such as Denzel, Will, and Sam Jack can grab a role or two, but only in films that aren’t “race-themed.” Which is to say that, even though the wig he rocked in Unbreakable is perfect, Sam Jackson won’t be Frederick Douglass any time soon. That role will go to Matthew McConaughey. And it is also to say that these three actors shouldn’t be able to tell the difference in their bank accounts, since they stopped doing “race-themed” movies years ago.
So, after this Cesar Chavez movie is released, I hope to see only white people in trailers for movies I don’t plan to see, anyway. It’s not as if the presence of people of color before the camera or behind the scenes is all that satisfying. Might as well stop half-assing this race in Hollywood game hustle. If Jesus is still white, everyone else might as well be, too.
See you at the movies. But not in them.
N.B. I’ll allow them to finish the Best Man trilogy if they can’t get the original Brat Pack to take over the roles. But that’s it.