All Articles Tagged "Hollywood"
This week, The Hollywood Reporter released their annual actor’s roundtable issue. The roundtable interview featured Will Smith, Benicio del Toro, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Joel Edgerton and Mark Ruffalo, who were all asked a series of questions surrounding their profession. When asked if prejudice had ever affected their careers, Will Smith had this to say:
My wife and I were just having this conversation, and we were going to the dictionary for “prejudice” versus “racism.” Everybody is prejudiced. Everybody has their life experiences that make them prefer one thing over another — it makes them prefer blond hair over a brunette; if you see somebody with dark skin walking down the street, you have a different reaction than you have [with] someone who is 5-foot-1 and white. But there is a connotation with racism of superiority: You feel that your race generally is superior. And I have to say, I live with constant prejudice, but racism is actually rare — someone who thinks their race is superior. I don’t want to work for them. I don’t want to work at that company. And the times I have come in contact with it, you get away from those people.
Will Smith is right: racism is rare…if you are one of the biggest entertainers in the world who has millions of dollars in the bank and can create the roles and opportunities you want. Smith has the type of clout that allows him the choice to move in and out of circles that don’t serve his needs. He has the type of money (and pull at the box office) that makes smart Hollywood people with racist views know when to shut their mouths. He and his family are visible on a worldwide scale in such a way that they may not experience very many moments of blatant hate due to what they look like. Indeed, racism is absolutely very rare for the Will Smiths of the world.
There are definitely moments when racism rears its heads for Black people in Hollywood, like the time a boutique employee assumed Oprah couldn’t afford a purse the store carried so she wouldn’t let her see it. But moments like those are few and far between because big money and fame tend to silence hate when you’re in a high position of power in Hollywood. Because of his status and bank balance, Will Smith does not have to deal with the pressures of being the average Black man in Hollywood or America as a whole. Statistically, if Smith had never become an A-list star and he was just a working-class man from West Philadelphia, he or one of his sons might be in jail. This is because systemic racism is deeply ingrained within our society, and it is hellbent on keeping Black people down.
His statement was earnest but cloaked in both naiveté and ignorance, and it’s important to bear in mind that Will Smith has been rich and A-list famous for far longer than he was a poor kid from West Philly. While he was busy looking up the distinct differences between the definitions of prejudice and racism, racist and prejudice acts were disproportionately occurring against other POC in entertainment and the working class. For Smith to make a statement in a well-known publication that denies the constant nature of racism is wholly irresponsible and shows of his privilege. When bigots hear people like Smith say that racism is rare (even if just in Hollywood), it provides them ammunition, or better yet, justification to do nothing when racist acts occur. It also allows them to dismiss the underlining cause behind the lack of diversity onscreen and behind the camera.
It is great that we as Black people can see someone ascend to the heights of success that Will Smith has attained, but it is dangerous that while high on his perch, he should dare make such a lofty statement with such long-reaching effects.
If you’ve ever asked a Black man between the ages of 25-40 who their celebrity crushes are, Meagan Good’s name will come up a lot. Quite a lot. And perhaps that’s a part of the problem.
In a recent interview with the LA Sentinel, the actress talked about the journey to be taken seriously as an actress.
She mentioned that Viola Davis calling her name during her Emmy acceptance speech was a huge moment for her.
I cried. It meant so much to me to be acknowledged by someone like Viola who I have so much respect for. We all face challenges in this business especially as black women. It’s been a really long crawl for me to transition from being a child actress to an adult actress; in addition to being in that sex kitten role in my early 20s and fighting to be taken more seriously. It’s been a really long journey and to hear her say my name really blessed me. To listen to her journey and to know what she’s gone through to be acknowledged for the great actress that she is…it’s all of our struggles to get out of the box that people always try to put us in.
It’s an incredible time for women and minorities in TV and film. There’s been a massive shift that we’ve all been patiently waiting for. I’m a big believer in not complaining about the things that are wrong. Instead I place my energy into being on the front line of change, having a positive attitude and fighting to see things shift. To be in Hollywood right now and have these opportunities as the shift is coming is incredible.
To that point, Good said that she relies on God to help her determine which roles will be right for her career.
I pray and read my bible every single day, I stay close to God because He’s what matters the most; everything else is secondary. My career can never give me what God can give me. When Deception initially came to me, I was afraid to do TV because it’s a huge time commitment and you’ll potentially be playing the same character for several years. And for at least six months of the year you’re away from your family in a different state or even a different country.
I had all of these stipulations about what the situation had to be in order for me to do television. When the opportunity for me to star in Deception presented itself, it was everything I said it had to be, so I knew it was God. When it ended, I was very thankful because it created so many other opportunities for me in the process. Deception opened the door for Minority Report as well as my role in Anchor Man 2: The Legend Continues. God wanted me to have those different roles to be able to build a platform where I could be more affective as a Christian.
Deception allowed people to see me in a really different light. At the time, I had just gotten married and being away from my family I had a lot of time to grow personally and professionally. So I wasn’t disappointed when the show got canceled because I knew God had something else lined up. Similarly with Minority Report, I asked God for certain things within the role and it was everything I said it needed to be. It’s a testament to not settling. I would rather not work than to do something that I’m not passionate about.
I’m so excited about Minority Report. This show is definitely the hardest I’ve ever worked but it’s been an incredible experience. I trust God so much that even if my decisions don’t make sense to other people, I know that God knows what He’s doing.
Good’s comments are interesting to me. Before this interview, I would have thought she preferred the sex kitten roles. It always seemed to me that she was so anxious to break away from the child actress label that she went for the sexy route. Hell, even when she wasn’t in a movie, Good’s red carpet choices were sexy. We all remember the dress she wore to the BET Awards, pictured above. And she was presenting a gospel award.
This whole discussion reminds me of an episode of “Tia and Tamera” where Tamera told Tia that she was tired of being typecast as the innocent, sweet girl. Tia just looked at her and laughed saying, well maybe you should stop going to auditions wearing Shirley Temple curls.
Hollywood, and society at large, is shallow, always attempting to put people in one box or another. I’m sure this applies even more so to Black women who are just now being offered roles that are more complex and whole.
It’ll be interesting to see if Good ever breaks out of this “sex kitten” pigeon hole.
You can read her full interview with the LA Sentinel, here.
For decades, Whites actors and actresses have been cast to play people of color in Hollywood, making whitewashing a very nasty habit in Tinsel Town. But these Black actors managed to turned the table and were selected to star in traditionally White roles.
Michael B. Jordan
Comic book fans everywhere were in an uproar when Michael B. Jordan was selected to play Johnny Storm in the reboot of The Fantastic Four. But Chris Evans, who first played the role a decade earlier, gave Jordan his stamp of approval in hopes to appease loyal fans. The film tanked anyway at the box office and studio executives hope the sequel, which had already been announced, can salvage the franchise.
Taraji P. Henson is truly one of a kind. She possesses that rare quality that makes you feel like she could be a member of your family, a friend you grew up with or one of your best friends. But she just so happens to be one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood. Today, we celebrate Henson’s 45th birthday (seriously?!) by taking a look at 10 moments when the star absolutely slayed us.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith are one of the most prolific and successful couples in Hollywood. And despite rumors of swinging, infidelity, and impending divorce, they remain a shining example of Black love in Tinseltown. Together, they have raised a family in which their daughter Willow and their son Jaden have been able to become empowered and unique artists; even if their point of views are oft-applauded and denounced in the culture. And while trying to be the best parents possible, Will has still found time to reignite his film career, and Jada has remained a constant in television and movies. She has had a banner year so far with her roles in the hit Fox series Gotham and her scene-stealing turn as “Rome” in Magic Mike XXL.
Will and Jada have never given anyone reason to think that their marriage is in the dumps. And yet, they are so often plagued with rumors of a split that Will, who virtually ignores any and all rumors about his family, finally spoke out about the situation. He said this on his Facebook page on Monday:
Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually respond to foolishness. (Because it’s contagious) But, so many people have extended me their “deepest condolences” that I figured – “What the hell… I can be foolish, too!”
So, in the interest of redundant, repetitious, over & over-again-ness… Jada and I are…
NOT GETTING A DIVORCE!!!!!!!!!!!!! : -)
I promise you all – if I ever decide to divorce my Queen – I SWEAR I’ll tell you myself!
#Dumb People Should Have to Wear Scarlet D’s
A short while later, Jada hopped on social media to support her husband’s statement with a simple response:
My king has spoken.
— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) August 3, 2015
And if that weren’t confirmation enough, Willow tweeted out her thoughts on the constant reports:
The media thinks my parents are getting divorced like every second hahaha !
— Willy (@OfficialWillow) August 4, 2015
The family delivered the ultimate “Bye Felicia” to the rumors. Will dropped that Facebook message and then went on and partied at the OVO Fest with Kanye and Drake. Jada threw on a bikini and flaunted her flawless figure on a beach in Hawaii, completely unbothered. So with the death of that latest rumor, fellow media outlets, haters, and naysayers, can you finally leave Will and Jada alone?
The entertainment dynasty they’re creating is important. To see Will Smith be a caring Black father and husband while maintaining his position among Hollywood’s elite is necessary as we often don’t see many positive representations of the Black family in entertainment. To see them support their daughter who is quickly becoming a role model by choosing to stay true to her unique look and perspective is important. Watching Jaden become a young international star and an individual who motivates young people to think outside the box is a beautiful thing. There’s been no family like the Smiths, and whether you hate them or love them, they’re living their lives their way and doing nothing to hurt others. That’s why it’s maddening that the media has been on a mission to split Will and Jada up for so long. It is the plight of the A-list star. Once you become very successful and your fame elevates to a prominent level, the media seeks to find a chink in your armor in order to feed the obsessive public. Many people like to watch people reach success, but a lot of people really enjoy watching the mighty fall. And while we’ve seen the end of several long-term A-list celebrity marriages within the last year—Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, and Chris Rock and Malaak Compton—I am thrilled that Will and Jada are not a part of that list.
No one knows what really goes on behind closed doors. At the end of the day, I’m going to take Will and Jada’s social media word as bond. If the day comes where they say they are splitting up, I’ll believe it. If they say they’re staying together and they love each other, as they have, then I believe it, and I champion it. May we see more examples of prominent Black love in Hollywood in the future.
And while celebrity marriages are ending quicker than Meek Mill’s rap career, the Smiths have put their collective feet on the ground and set the record straight. Now, can they live?
It’s pretty common to see a male celeb dating a younger woman. In fact, it’s expected. But nowadays celeb women are looking for their own PYT (pretty young things), and we are so here for it. Check out these 15 celeb women who are getting their cougar on!
We all know that Hollywood is a weird place. But is it cursed? These stories sound out there. But these stars say the evidence speaks for itself. These are superstitions and “curses” that people believe to be true.
We’ve all seen the stories about child stars gone wild. From Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges to Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, making the transition from child star to an adult actor (or musician) can sometimes be rocky and filled with drama. Still, it is possible to make it out unscathed. Let’s look at 15 child stars who successfully transitioned and thrived!
This promises to be a big year for Black autobiographies. With Issa Rae’s book of short essays in stores everywhere, Amber Rose preparing her scandalous tell-all, and the announcements of memoirs coming from Shonda Rhimes and Gabourey Sidibe, we are hype. But we would be even more excited if the following stars shared their stories. Here are 15 celebs who need to write tell-all books!
For the love of all that’s good, please stop remaking movies.
Hollywood generates billions of dollars a year. Is there really a need to remake movies? Perhaps they should call in Shonda Rhimes or some up-and-coming talent to fill the void of creative ideas.
I love The Rock as much as the next woman (that man is some serious eye candy). Worth an estimated $52 million, he has successfully transitioned from the realm of professional wrestling to the big screen. With box office hits like The Game Plan, Furious 7 and now San Andreas under his belt, it’s no wonder why Hollywood keeps knocking at his door. It’s estimated his movies earn an average of $92.8 million in theaters, which is pretty amazing.
That doesn’t mean I need to see him as Jack Burton or whoever he plans to play in the upcoming remake of Big Trouble in Little China though. It’s okay if you’ve never seen it. It’s an ’80s flick that starred Kurt Russell as a witty truck driver who gets caught up in a Chinese street gang battle with mystical elements. In many ways, it was a bit cheesy, but it’s still considered a cult favorite in many circles.
This is not a diss to The Rock. Heck, if someone decided to pay me millions to play make-believe, I might jump on the opportunity as well. My frustration is more with Hollywood and their failure — or unwillingness — to give us moviegoers something new and exciting to see. I guess originality goes out the window when you can regurgitate a previous story line.
Sure, there’s probably no such thing as reinventing the wheel; many blockbusters have been based on a book, comic or mythology. Those of us who love cinema can, in fact, enjoy movies here and there based on an adaptation, but would also like to see a different approach on film.
One of the most recent remakes that comes to mind is Poltergeist. It tanked at the box office. Debuting in the number four spot, it has since grossed $38.5 million, which is a far cry from being successful in Tinseltown. Another remake that premiered in May was Mad Max: Fury Road. Sure, it generated some buzz over the whole “feminism” controversy, but filmmakers should be very thankful for foreign markets considering it barely made back its investment in the U.S. (It had a $150 million budget with $116.4 million in ticket sales). And who can forget Robocop, the random reboot that came out last year? That poor movie had a $100 million budget and only grossed $58.6 million. The list can go on and on with other reboots like Godzilla (2014) and Carrie (2013) that received so-so reviews and box office sales.
On the flip side of the coin, certain reboots delivered a fresh perspective. Many Christopher Nolan fans still thank him today for Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. It’s a far cry from the “Boom!” “Pow!” of the TV show and ’90s versions. Some also enjoyed the 2014 film About Last Night starring Kevin Hart, Regina Hall and Michael Ealy that grossed $48.6 million at the box office (it had a $12.5 million budget).
And let’s talk about Annie. This was one of the most controversial reboots considering America’s beloved orphan was portrayed by a person of color (Quvenzhane Wallis). That, however, did not stop moviegoers from supporting the film. It grossed $85.9 million — and scored Wallis a Golden Globe nomination.
With more reboots on the way (Fantastic Four and reportedly a Jumanji remake), time will tell whether or not folks will grow tired of supporting reboots. After all, is it wrong to want something new if you’re going to pay a small fortune to see it? Perhaps this is where independent films can step in and gain more eyeballs and award recognition.
Then again, Hollywood is pretty notorious for sequels given there are tons in the Fast & Furious franchise, another Terminator coming out, and Jurassic World that will make its debut later this month.
At the end of the day, you’ll pay to see what you want. It’s just interesting how many remakes are coming to a theater near you.