It’s a new year which means it is also time once again for Hollywood to deny America’s racial diversity. This years’ white-washing of Hollywood films is nothing new. If you even mention the fact that minority actors, are being replaced, or that Anglo-Saxons are chosen instead of minorities for the sake of sales, you will be perceived as a dinosaur, or even a racist. And I could see you ripping people as being jaded or having some major type of issue, if the white-washing were not occurring. However, the only thing happening is that Americans are now more willing to overlook racial intolerance and slights, especially on the internet, perhaps that is what is meant by Post-Racial. In America Post-Racial means being about to voice your racism without having to check it first and looking beyond racism, even when it is right in front of you. I routinely get the N-word dropped on me via Youtube, I can only assume that electronic anonymity somehow breeds courage.
Even though 2013 will go down as a historic year for black film, in terms of movies made, gone are the golden age of black of the ’90s Movies such as “House Party” “Boyz in the Hood”, “New Jack City” , “Juice”, “Poetic Justice”, “Boomerang”, “What’s Love Got to Do With It”, “Menace to Society” , “Set It Off”, ”Jason’s Lyric”, “Tales From the Hood”, “Friday”, “Above the Rim” , “Malcolm X”, “Waiting to Exhale” , “Love Jones”, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, “Brown Sugar”, “Bad Boys” “Life” and “The Best Man”. Today some black actors have felt the need to marry white to be accepted in Hollywood the case of The Best Man Holiday is a prime example of this. These actors are employed so this does work to a degree. For some actors even this co-opting method isn’t enough and it is usually met with notions of selling out. It’s not just black actors that are doing this.
Actors are well aware of just how prevalent the media’s white-washing is in our culture, I don’t need to mention the very egregious Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games series do I. The dominate culture overlooks this white washing because it’s inconsequential to their lives, but if a black Santa was placed in every shopping center around the country most white folks wouldn’t allow their children to take photos with him, white privilege is something minorities do not have and have been conditioned to accept. It is either accept the coded racial acting as with Toyota’s Swagger Wagon rap commercial, a T-Mobile spokesperson rapping, it’s hyping Disney’s The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time or marry white or breed into the dominate white culture.
in 2010 The Book of Eli was released and it was for all intents and purposes was a “Black” film, but it was not marketed as such. In fact, one would have to say that Mila Kunis (Solara) was added to the film for the sole purpose of “whitening up” the cast for public consumption.
Avatar: The Last Airbender, was a popular cartoon long before it was made into a movie. However, the Native American and Asian cast of the cartoon somehow never made it into the movie. This movie has already been boycotted by several Asian groups. Even with boycotts they still casted Justin Chatwin to play Goku in the Dragon Ball: Evolution.
Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 is one of the few movies to employ more than one Asian co-star Lucy Lu and Jackie Chan. It is a movie set in China that deal with Chinese themes, which doesn’t quite explain how Jack Black and Angelina Jolie get top billing in the Kung Fu Panda movies, a cartoon that only required their voice, could it be that they sound White… nope this decision was also based on being white because Lucy Lu’s voice has no ethnic distinction. After all the children must be brainwashed early.
Apparently relegating minorities to sports or making them mutants just isn’t enough. In the movie Wanted (2008) Angelina Jolie was cast as the female lead, although the comic book character “Fox” is clearly black, she has also played the roles of Cleopatra and Mariane Pearl.
Disney’s Frog Princess (2009) relegated the “Black” princess to a frog for 70 percent of the movie, thereby completely ignoring race. Disney is smart. Avatar “the #1 movie of all time”, is another movie completely about race and ethic revolts that is resolved by whites. They once again save the ignorant native people…faster than you can you say Dances with Wolves.
The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has taken white washing to a whole new level. Prince of Persia had its roots as a popular video game that stars a Middle Eastern hero. Since this was a well established games series the studios didn’t have to do much, they just took everything from the game… everything except the Middle Eastern hero.Instead Disney decided to cast the Swedish-Jewish Jake Gyllenhall as the hero Dastan, complete with a British accent.
By using video games and comic books as a base, studios have room to move when it comes to story line and plot, but if you are a director why play to the fickle whims of a psychotic nation? Are they afraid of color, or perhaps Hollywood saying that only Caucasians have sex in the city either.
Hollywood is vindicated for their white-washing method when the public whole heartedly accepts an all white cast has to struggle for civil-rights as they have done with the X-Men series. This Hollywood racial ideal does not just apply to cartoons or movies based on comics, think about it and while you’re thinking about that remember the X-Men comic books aree based entirely off of Blacks, their plight, specialness and struggle for acceptance as Stan Lee put it.
X-Men: First Class doesn’t have one African-American starring in it, this is particularly egregious because the Professor X and Magneto are specifically based on civil rights leaders Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King. If I didn’t tell you, you would you have known… now you can look at X-Men First Class differently.
Hollywood finds people of color in abundance when the role is that of a thug, drug deal or a terrorist, but it enters a people of color desert when the role is that of the main character. This acceptability is everywhere often it’s subtle such as, when Zoe Zaldana says something like “I’m Dominican, Lebanese, Indian, Irish, Jamaican.” Then she turns around and plays the role of African-American freedom fighter Nina Simone (Eunice Kathleen Waymon).
Of course Captain America has to be the All-American White Boy… And Green Lantern too? On second thought why isn’t Captain America Asian?
In Tropic Thunder Robert Downey Jr. received acclaim from portraying a black man.
This Couple’s Retreat poster’s racism is so blatant, there is no need for me to comment.
The reality is that any actor can go from the bed to the screen, it just so happens that the majority that do are White actors. Maybe there are fewer minorities in film because minorities refuse the “casting couch” audition. In Hollywood white actors are elevated to icon status when they convincingly play a minority. This practice in Hollywood is as common as recycling story lines and casting couches.
There is a lot of history behind this Racebending practice, John Wayne played Genghis Khan. Yul Bynnner played a Thailand King and an Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II. Charlton Heston played the Hebrew Moses. Al Pacino played Puerto Ricans. Mickey Rooney played Asian characters, so why can’t Johnny Depp is play Tonto, a Native American, in the The Lone Ranger movie. As a nation you would think that we have made strides to get past this, but sadly we haven’t. An Asian guy can’t be an Avenger or else the film might lose viewership…
The next time you go grocery shopping look at the covers of America’s most popular magazine and you will see the constant reminders that Americans just won’t pay to see minorities on stage or in print. In fact those magazine almost pornographic in have they usually have almost nude women on the covers. The should be displayed in the back of the store and not in the front so all of the children and be brainwashed.
I would like to say that this is a time in America where blacks don’t have to be represented as aliens, mutants, comedic relief or sports personalities. I would like to say that putting minorities, that represent America, on the cover of a magazine that everyone buys won’t decrease your sales. I would like to say that these entertainment leaders are not pushing an ideal, but I can’t say it and neither can you, see how Donald Trump has been able to stroke the latent racial fires within people. This racial agenda is not unexpected from an industry that has Mel Gibson as one of its top stars, but at least Mel Gibson was being honest. If Mel Gibson were a Black Man his arse would have already been facing charges, ask Chris Brown.
When America has a Lebanese-American Miss America, in the age of President Obama and Will Smith is Hollywood’s biggest actor, it is surprising that white-washing is still prevalent, yet it seems that looking the other way is even more prevalent. In many ways Hollywood’s practice of white-washing is actually an acknowledgment of America’s deep racial disturbance. Black actresses who passed used to get movies roles, but now even they wont get a staring movie role unless they are White-Acceptable. Strong Black male roles in Hollywood have been defacto outlawed. Black Men can’t seem to star in Hollywood unless they have been willing to cross-dressing, ask Tyler Perry, Martin Lawrence, Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Tracy Morgan, Vinh Rhames, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart and others.
When black males don dresses it isn’t for an artistic award winning role like Mrs. Doubtfire, apparently it is hysterical when black men dress up like women, it shows the dominate culture you are willing to do anything they ask of you… Thanks Dave Chappelle for not having a price. It may come as a shock but Black Men want to be portrayed as men. If you want to work in Hollywood, of course you have to help with the brain washing agenda, so if the script says that you wear a dress, then you wear a dress and who wrote the script?
Hollywood must have commissioned some studies or reports that said, if they want the masses to spend their money on a product, most of the characters must be white, why else would they do it? Going to Middle Earth, you must be white. Visiting far off planets, oh we need a white representative for that. A story about Mongols, just drop a white guy in the middle of it.
Perhaps because people of color can’t see themselves being bested by a brainless zombie that can’t run, jump or hide, maybe they don’t see themselves being hacked to death by a slow walking madman in the woods, or swimming a river full of piranhas, or doing any number of stupid things that white actors get paid to do to build movie tension. Maybe they figure that the whites wont accept white actors being told what to do by Black ones. Perhaps, there is an unwritten industry rule that has cap on the amount of minorities you can have on stage, screen, on a magazine cover.
In 2016, Dawn of Justice, which is really Man of Steel II, Laurence Fishburne stars and was given six minutes of screen time only so their wouldn’t be any flack. Just one in Black person and they are usually comic relief or backing up a White star.
Face it, White America will never get over their racial fixation, they just won’t let it go. Right down to Jim Sturgess portraying Hae-Joo Chang in “Cloud Atlas” in prosthetics and yellow face no less. These things are not mere slights they are conscious acts, scripts have been stolen from Blacks (see The Matrix, Terminator) and Blacks have been written of out of roles to be replaced by whites. When you interview the directors they always say “I don’t know if it is a stereotype”, “It was done in fun” or “I have a good relationship with the Blacks”.
This is precisely the kind of attitude that makes people celebrate racially coded actions, and place human racial issues on non-humans, it’s just easier to deal with that way. In Hollywood, minorities can’t be Vampires, Wizards or fight Dragons. It is Hollywood that tells us that Black people can not hip-hop dance and act at the same time, as if there is any kind of acting in those high school musical, prom, bridesmaid or dance films.
Hollywood is a White Industry, it has always had an agenda or two and white-washing is something that the upcoming movie The Expendables seeks to capitalize on in a big way. The Expendables is a movie filled with once premiere names in the ass-kicking, action hero genre (1 Asian, 1 Black, 1 Woman, 2 Hispanics and 57 Whites), which is odd because the movies mostly takes place in South America.
The director of the Expendable films, Sylvester Stallone, throws us a racial bones as he picked Terry Crews for the black action hero role. I like Terry Crews, but he has never been an action hero, unless he is saving you from sweat and odor as he does in his Old Spice commercials. I am sure that he was selected because of his new sit-com, Are We There Yet? Of course, the logical choice would be Michael Jai White or even Wesley Snipes, since the theme is once popular action heroes. This decision was obviously based on money and popularity, which is somewhat understandable. However, Hollywood’s sexism and racism is baseless.
According to George Lucas it took 23 years of writing and rewriting to get the movie “Red Tails” made. He said that Hollywood wouldn’t make it because it wasn’t green. “It didn’t have a major white protagonist role. I made this movie so that teenage boys would have heroes.” The latter part of the Lucas’ statement was telling in that it appears that black producers no longer have the guts to bring real black hero movies to Hollywood, or to make real relevant honest movies, due the they years of being told those movies aren’t green enough. The studios consider a 20 million dollar investment, in a movie about the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, real American heroes to be a risky investment. The first all black action movie, you’d never figure that Star War’s George Lucas would bring it to the forefront. Was is also funny is that if the movie doesn’t financially overwhelm, movie studios will be even less likely to green light movies by Black filmmakers for Black audiences.
Even a good film like Straight outta Compton, The NWA rap group’s bio-picture which did well at the domestic box office was not pushed overseas. Hollywood let this film languish overseas as if only North Americans are influence by hip-hop and hip-hop culture. This limited the total for the film, why was this done? As the leaked Sony emails say Hollywood feels that “Black issues and stars don’t translate well overseas”. Is that so, or maybe you don’t want them to translate well…
Who is covered up?
(Just shut up and be glad they are doing a black superhero film…geez)
On a side note Michael Jai White has been getting the shaft for years. Hollywood has opted to half train, spend millions on CGI, and hire new white male action heroes, when Michael White holds seven black belts, yet he somehow he never gets that big action flick, and it’s a damn shame too ’cause Michael Jai White kicks much butt.
There are plenty of Latino and Black actors, not to mention women that can play any of these roles a white actor is given. Is Hollywood right on, or is just giving the American public the races they crave? If you put too many non-whites on the cover of anything the masses will walk by it thinking “That’s not for me”. That’s why there is no black Jesus, Moses, Noah, superman, spider man, batman or any other heroic man with a following. I am frankly surprised that they haven’t had Cliff Curtis playing an Asian, Middle Eastern and a Latino all in the same film. Michael Peña is finally getting some long overdo shine.
For some reason those in entertainment believe that the public must be coddled and greased up into accepting dark heroes and heroines. If you look at 1998’s “Blade” grossed 131 million on a 40 million dollar budget. The film starred Wesley Snipes as a kick ass superhero vampire hunter. Blade proved to Marvel and Hollywood that big budget comic book superhero films were indeed viable productions. Of course Wesley couldn’t be the front man for X-Men and Avenger blockbusters, he was timely jailed and forgotten for killing whites on film with a smile.
Shortly after Blade, enter 2002’s blockbuster Spider and the billion dollar grossing Marvels’ The Avengers in 2012. Of course people will say they are unrelated, because they don’t want to address it, but it is there. Some would even argue that point, but those are the same people who went shopping this week and saw dozens of magazines filled with half naked whites on the cover in front of dozen of minority eyes. These are the same people who wouldn’t take their child to see The Frog Princess, but affectionately and proudly speak of seeing Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. You know who those people are. They are the ones who talk about bank ability or marketability or an actor knowing full well that it is just another code word because the explanation is not politically correct. They are the same people that would argue that “Minority” movies don’t make as much as non-minority movies, well actually that is correct, because they actually more profitable.
People love Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games, who according to the book is described as ‘non-white, with dark, olive skin’…go figure.
Hunger Games was a big hit; people who read the books and fell in love with and cared about the characters were disappointed in the movie. Why? Even though the book described Rue as a black character, readers created an image of that character in their minds, they created an image they could connect with an image they could love. So when fans of the book saw a black face on screen…they threw up in their collective mouths. There are people who will argue about the authenticity of a movie’s story-line or character. But if you have seen these movies you know that it has nothing to do with acting. Hollywood has and can make the least talented person a house hold name.
If we are all equal why does Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Thor and similar heroes have to look or be white? I guess not many black actors want to play impotent superheroes these days. Look at how many reiterations of Batman there have, and he’s not a super hero and he’s impotent, but he embodies white fantasies, you he will stay on the big screen.
For now only whites be pirate captains?…hmmm don’t tell the Somali’s that. Look at the half-Ethiopian character of Nora in “Warm Bodies”, played by the very white Analeigh Tipton or Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck, in the Academy Award Winning “Argo”. Very soon a white director or white producer will soften their racial heart and put a minority in a traditional white role like James Bond or something remotely popular, it will be applauded and hailed as ground breaking. Whenever that day comes will it undo the hundred or so years of generational racial conditioning?
You will are bombarded with a mix of sexism, archetypes, internalized stereotypes, negative racial feelings and misplaced empathy whenever you enter a movie theater. Any American, except for Ron Paul, will say that they are against discrimination. However, most people are unaware that subconsciously everything they watch and spend money on has everything to do with race and in many cases enables racial bias. Racial biases can transferred through screens both small and large, from hearts and mind, words and actions and right into our children. You believe in equality, but somehow you prefer one race over another… where did you get that from? Post-Racial…not a chance, “White-Acceptance” more likely. Hollywood, The Media and magazines have been feeding the masses a steady and constant diet of “White-Acceptable” people from Vin Diesel, Rosario Dawson, Maya Rudolph, Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Alba, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Thandie Newton, Soledad O’Brein, Rihanna, Rashida Jones, Zoe Saldana, Amy Holmes and others, with the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin poised to be the new face of the NBA.
They take time period pieces like say the huge Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, where there are no blacks, so they can’t be captains. The closest that series has come to even using the term black is when they say “Black Light’ and “Black Beard”, this series does uses Soldana in a small out of place role. Middle Earth, Hogwarts and all of the forest towns that crawl with vampires are devoid of minorities; even in the imaginary and alternative universes.
I am not advocating the boycott of any film like the God of Egypt, because even if the studio losses money… it’s still a write off, why do you think hey aren’t concerned with making a better product. It’s not enough to make a Facebook page on the subject because the brain-washing is so constantly ubiquitous.
America needs to talk about how the media and entertainment has warped and distorted what beauty is, but instead of talking about it we have swept this shift to White-Acceptability under the rug .
The conversation is deep and long, so I am pretty sure that Americans wont have the stomach to discuss it. Instead of Hollywood focusing on internal frames, story lines and jump cuts it chooses to engage in these racebending practices to profit off of internalized racial biases, and perhaps that is the real Hollywood Shuffle.
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Side Note: The Karate Kid (starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan) debuts at #1 with 58 Million. This 58 Million dollar number is of note for several reasons. For a non 3 day weekend the 58 Million for The Karate Kid sets the record for the highest grossing opening box office total for a minority movie in history. However, half of the usual sites that report box office totals by 2pm on Sunday didn’t report it. Maybe it has something to do with the stars of the film, if it doesn’t I hope someone can tell me why this this “unusual” occurrence in box office reporting happened? Yahoo put up the box office report 5 hours later than normal and it was right after the Lakers/Celtics game…
Movies with a mixed cast like “Fast Five”,’ Fast Six” are beginning to change the game for movie goers. It this trend picks up and continues, a slightly color stuck society may be on the horizon.