It seems Hollywood has learned nothing from the barrage of criticism for casting straight actor Jared Leto in his (ultimately Oscar-winning) role as a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers’ Club” or casting Johnny Depp, a white man, as the Native American Tonto in “The Lone Ranger.” Once again, an actor has been cast in a role that could have been more authentically portrayed by someone with the actual experience of the character: Entertainment Weekly confirmed last week that Rooney Mara, who is white, will be Native American princess Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan remake/prequel called “Pan.”
Of course, acting is “acting” and any actor could hypothetically play a character of any race or gender. The problem is that Mara’s casting is an example of Hollywood’s longtime problem with whitewashing — take, for instance, white, blonde Jennifer Lawrence’s casting as olive-skinned, dark-haired Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.” Hollywood could have easily found a Native American actress to play Tiger Lily. There are numerous Native American actresses who have appeared in other films about Native Americans, including Q’orianka Kilcher, who starred as Pocahontas in “The New World, ” or Irene Bedard, who was in “Smoke Signals” and voiced Pocahontas in the Disney cartoon. Or, since the character of Tiger Lily is supposed to be fairly young, the role could have gone to a new, up-and-coming Native talent. Keep reading »
“I look at shows on TV, and this is going to just seem defensive, but I’m just gonna say it: I’m a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network television show, OK? … I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women or of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things. And I’ll answer them, I will. But I know what’s going on here. … It is a little insulting because, I’m like, God, what can I — oh, I’m sitting in it. I have 75 percent of the lines on the show. … And I’m like, oh wait, it’s not like I’m running a country, I’m not a political figure. I’m someone who’s writing a show and I want to use funny people. And it feels like it diminishes the incredibly funny women who do come on my show… I don’t know, it’s a little frustrating.”
This is Mindy Kaling‘s response (as quoted by Flavorwire) when she got asked at a SXSW panel why Mindy is the only female doctor and the only doctor of color on her show, “The Mindy Project,” which she writes, executive produces, and stars in. I don’t blame her for being defensive or feeling frustrated: it is a show written/produced/starring a woman of color with a bunch of female co-stars and yet these types of questions from journalists still insinuate that Kaling not doing enough. Keep reading »
This post is reprinted from The Huffington Post with the permission of its authors.
What’s the biggest myth about street harassment? That men of color comprise the majority of offenders.
It’s a myth as old as this nation: the idea that Black men are more likely to be sexual predators — especially of white women. Consider D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation,” that builds an entire narrative on the idea of the black brute. From the Scottsboro boys to Emmitt Till, history as well as popular culture, the justice system and virtually all other facets of American society still hold the deeply entrenched notion of Black men as people to be feared.
But the myth doesn’t stop with history. In a recent New York Times article, a White woman living in a mostly Caribbean community (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) gets physically assaulted by a Latino man and wonders if it’s her fault, as if moving into a mostly Caribbean community was the city-dwellers equivalent to “asking for it.” A few years ago, a woman, also writing for The New York Times, reported on her experience doing aid work in the Congo and hearing repeatedly from other European aid workers that sexual harassment, violence, and rape in those areas “is cultural,” instead of, as she duly notes, “a tool of war.” The myth that Black and Latino men are innately sexually aggressive is one that extends beyond our national borders. Keep reading »
Yetsreday ESSENCE magazine bestowed Lupita Nyong’o the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at their 2014 Black Women in Hollywood luncheon for her Oscar-nominated performance in “12 Years A Slave.”
While receive this honor, Lupita gave an acceptance speech which was both heartbreaking and inspiring. She spoke about Black beauty and the times as a young adult that she felt unattractive for being so dark-skinned. She only saw lighter-skinned women on TV; as a child and adolescent, Lupita shared, she used to pray to God to make her skin lighter so she could be as desirable as them. Today, as a successful actress, she hears from young women who feel that same way right now.
Here is Lupita Nyong’o's full speech from last night, via ESSENCE. It’s extremely touching and well-worth a read: Keep reading »