Golden Globes so white it can’t bother to differentiate between ‘Hidden Figures’ and ‘Fences’
It appears as if I made the wise decision not to tune in to the 74th annual Golden Globes. The Golden Globes, like the Oscars and like the Emmys, are too white. Sitting on my couch for three hours to watch a bunch of white people rewarding each other for a lot of mediocre shows and films I’ve never watched is not my idea of a relaxing Sunday night. Besides, why tune in when Twitter exists? All of the best dressed, best acceptance speeches, jokes and flubs will be online within hours. No need for me to get my blood pressure up every time a person of color is snubbed for La La Land.
Speaking of blood pressure, mine would’ve been through the roof if I had witnessed the Golden Globes racial microagressions live. Jenna Bush Hager had one job on the red carpet. It’s not easy — I’ve done it and hate it. It definitely takes a level of finesse to ask questions at the lightening speed pace of the red carpet. But when one is offered a job they must showed up prepared. “So, you’re nominated for Hidden Fences,” Hager said to Pharrell. Only problem is Hidden Fences is not a real movie. Hidden Figures and Fences are two very different black movies with very different black actors. A journalist should know this, but when you’re privileged and white why be bothered with learning the names of the black movies you seemingly have little interest in.
Hager wasn’t the only one to flub. Michael Keating did the same while announcing the Best Supporting Actress nominees. “Octavia Spencer for Hidden Fences,” Keating said without realizing the mistake. Oh, dear god. The only explanation for how this happened twice in one night is simple: white people.
Immediately following white people’s cluelessness, Black Twitter made comedic gold with #HiddenFences and #GoldenGlobeErrors by placing two black movie titles that don’t belong together. One of my personal favorites is “For Colored Girls Who Set It Off While Waiting To Exhale.” While Black Twitter is known for turning sour racially offensive lemons into sweet lemonade, we shouldn’t have to. At every chance we shouldn’t have to laugh to keep from crying because of white folks carelessness and racism. Sure, the tweets are hilarious. But the mistakes are infuriating because it reminds us that the white folks don’t find our creative brilliance worthy of even getting the names right on live television. Doing their job when it comes to our art is suddenly too much to ask.
There are already so few films centering black people, telling black stories. Black people (and people of color) are criminally underrepresented at the box office. To mistake two of the year’s most talked about films is lazy, arguably intentional and offensive. It’s also unacceptable. That kind of “mistake” mirrors the daily microaggressions black people deal with every day in the workforce. When you’re the only black person on your team and nobody can bother to learn how to pronounce your name. Or when a black woman wears her ‘fro out for the first time and white co-workers make a snide remark making it known the straight weave is preferred. Or when it’s implied you were only because you’re black as if your education and talent couldn’t possibly be the reason why you’re in the room. It never ends no matter what level you’re at in your career.
On the Today show Hager apologized by saying she’s a human who makes mistakes. Apparently she’s seen both films and think they’re “brilliant.” But why does this mistake only happen with black films? How is it that white Hollywood has no problem getting it right with the hundreds of white films produced every year? Those are the hard-hitting questions Hollywood should be asking itself because those of us who aren’t privileged or white know the answer.
Hollywood is so white it not only co-opts people of color’s stories, casts white actors in roles that should star a person of color, lacks imagination for people of color films, rarely rewards our brilliance, and now it can’t be bothered to be accurate either. Last night’s Golden Globes snafu was a glimpse in the day in the life of black people who have to work twice as hard just to get half of what white America has to still be discredited and disrespected. We can’t even tune in to three hours of entertainment without being reminded of that harsh reality.