Actor/Comedian Chris Rock blasted Hollywood in a new scathing Hollywood Reporter article, calling the movie business a “White industry.”
Excerpts from The Hollywood Reporter:
“It’s a White industry. Just as the NBA is a Black industry,” Rock told Hollywood Reporter. “I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is. And the Black people they do hire tend to be the same person.
“There are almost no Black women in film,” he said. “You can go to whole movies and not see one Black woman. They’ll throw a Black guy a bone. OK, here’s a Black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors? I’m not sure there are. I don’t remember them.”
Thursday on “NewsOne Now,” Roland Martin and the Straight Talk panel, featuring Dr. Avis Jones DeWeever, Lenny McAllister and Kim Brown discussed Rock’s Hollywood Reporter piece that has many in Tinseltown crying foul.
Martin summed up Rock’s blistering Hollywood Reporter essay and the movie industry saying that Hollywood is like the “other systems in America.”
“Hollywood, supposedly liberal, progressive, ‘oh we care about all of these issues,’ but you have never seen an African American run a Hollywood studio and I don’t think you ever will,” said Martin.
Lenny McAllister explained why he believes the business is this way, “Hollywood still controls two things, it controls money, and a lot of it, and it controls images. If you’re going to keep this stratified America, you gotta control the money, and you gotta control the images.”
McAllister added, “If you look at the type of images that are out there … in big money Hollywood. It’s still a lot of stereotypes, it’s very truncated roles, you don’t get an opportunity to show the diversity of Black America, let alone all of America. So as long as you have that mindset in place, we’re going to continue to see this in Hollywood, just as we often times see it in television.”
On Wednesday, a group of nine African American women, called the Delegation of Grieving Mothers, went before the House Judiciary committee to discuss how it felt to lose their sons to violence at the hands of police.
Tressa Sherrod, mother of John Crawford; Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant; Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell and a number of other mothers who have experienced the impact of police brutality and the use excessive force were also in attendance.
Thursday, Roland Martin, host of “NewsOne Now,” spoke with Pastor Jamal Bryant via Skype about the “powerful testimony” of the delegation of mothers and the need, not just for federal intervention but also action on the state level.
“It is very clear that this issue is resonating with people across various races, across ideologies,” said Martin.
Pastor Bryant responded, “The momentum is here. It is now a global movement, from London, to Korea, to South Africa. I think we are now in the next phase, where there has to be a demand.”
“Frederick Douglas said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand. A protest without a point is just a parade.'” Bryant added, “Now there has to be an act, and what they did yesterday, the mothers, by going forth and looking for legislation to happen, the Bible is clear, ‘Be angry, but sin not,'” said Bryant. “So with all of our rage, with all of our disappointment, now has to be what you call … the ask.”
TOP FIVE digs under the surface of show business, politics, rap, and the exigencies of being Black and famous today—holding it all up to the light in the way only Chris Rock can. Mingling echoes of Woody Allen and Dick Gregory with the energy of Kanye West and Jay Z, TOP FIVE is an original and radically new kind of American movie.
Written, directed, and starring Chris Rock, TOP FIVE tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind. Starring Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Gabrielle Union, Cedric The Entertainer, JB Smoove, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Hart, Anders Holm, Jay Pharaoh, Michael Che, Sherri Shepherd, Leslie Jones. The film is produced by Scott Rudin and Eli Bush. The Co-Producers are Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Kanye West; the Executive Music Producer is Questlove.
Union, who plays the role of a reality television star in “Top Five” told Martin, “I wanted to give an alternate view, obviously she is going to be glamorous, she’s going to be fly, she’s going to be a diva but at the same time I wanted to show their humanity.”
Union added that what we would assume about women in the reality television industry is that they would flip the camera on and exploit someone’s struggle with addiction for ratings, but “the realty is that not everything is for sale with these people.”
Check out Roland Martin’s interview with Gabrielle Union in the clip above and make sure you go out and see Chris Rock’s “Top Five” which premieres in theaters December 12th.
Over the past weekend Oprah Winfrey held a “Legends of Selma” brunch to honor Civil Rights pioneers who helped pave the way for all of us.
From the “Selma” Facebook fan page”
SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.
“Selma” is slated to premiere in theaters Friday, January 9th, 2015, with a Christmas Day limited release on December 25th.
All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.