Meryl Streep on Diversity In Hollywood: “We’re All Africans, Really”
Just when you think you got one of the good ones, they go and say something pretty, pretty dumb to mess it all up. Meryl Streep is your latest fave turned problematic. She’s heading the Berlin International Film Festival jury, and as this is her first time doing so, she came out of the gate strong, saying that she’s committed to equality and will strive to be inclusive “of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions.” Good, Streep. Good first step!
But, when asked by an Egyptian reporter about her understanding of films from the Arab world and North Africa, Streep said, “I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures….Thre is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all we’re all from Africa originally…Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”
Ahhhh, Meryl. Meryl. Come on! We all love you. We very much enjoyed your work in a wide variety of films. But! Remember that when diversity has been a hot button issue – and rightfully so — the key thing to do before you open your mouth to speak is to think about what your words mean. Everyone gets caught off guard and maybe that’s what happened here, but Meryl Streep has been famous for longer than I’ve been alive. She knows. She reads. She knows.
For all of those participating in the Diversity Olympics at home, Streep is concerned about the inclusion of women. “The Jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions. So I think the Berlinale is ahead of the game.”
Okay, girl. Okay.