Viola Davis’ Emmy nomination and subsequent win was an insane plus for minority actors and what they can do in regards to the cinematic medium.
Not to take credit from Ms. Davis and her amazing speech. Of course, minority actors are the forefront of the battle of more representation on cinema screens.
But what about the people not on the spotlight?
Currently, there are still loads of untapped story potential hidden in every writer, every producer and every director choosing to go into the cinematic medium. Each of them has their own story to tell, but they can’t tell them due to the heavy restrictions that comes with getting it out there in Hollywood.
Talking with Selma director, Ava DuVernay, she likens the whole industry as a series of locks to many minority creators.
Take it away Ava,
“Sure, that’s all Hollywood is, is locks. A whole bunch of closed doors. Any film that you see that has any progressive spirits that is made by any people of color or a woman is a triumph, in and of itself. Whether you agree with it or not. Something that comes with some point of view and some personal prospective from a woman or a person of color, is a unicorn. Because truly the numbers that were just announced by [the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism] are dismal when it comes to women filmmakers, even worse, horrible, horrific when it comes to women of color filmmakers.
When you just imagine that there’s one type of voice that’s really being pushed to the forefront is the white male voice. In terms of cinema, it’s really clear that the rest of us are locked out. So it becomes imperative that people—audiences that want to see that, fight for it, push for it. Support it when it comes, but also artists just become really vocal. So, yeah, it’s a whole bunch of locked doors.”
This kind of restriction is also why many of industry professionals feel like they don’t have a voice in the industry. Much like Effie Brown, who actually feared that Matt Damon reaction in HBO’s The Greenlight.
“That was the nice cut. I couldn’t go head on against the biggest movie star in the world—I want to work again. This is a thing we all have to think about. I’m a ballsy chick, but he has a number one movie and an Oscar. I’m trying to pay my mortgage,” she continued. “What was brilliant is that on social media, there was an immediate call and response. People tweeted and were on Facebook. This is clearly no longer OK.” Brown said.
So continue to thank the Viola Davis’ of the world, but don’t forget, give the DuVernays and the Browns some love too!