May 29, 2008

Where are the Women of Color?

This blog tries its best to bring attention to issues about women and Hollywood, yet the reality of Hollywood is that most of the news and stories I come across are about white women.

When I ran into a friend last week she said that she and her friends talk about the lack of opportunities for black women in film and asked me: where are the black women?

Good question.

It really made me think about the blog and its goals and I really want to do better at including more news about women of color to the blog (I would love to add more sites to explore- please send them my way.) The issue about the lack of opportunities for women of color in Hollywood is a complicated mix of racism and sexism among other things. Suffice it to say that women of color have a harder time than white women in Hollywood. My friend Fay made a light romantic comedy that starred an Asian woman and was told by potential distributors that it wasn't "universal." That's just crap. Her film is now entering its 7th week in Phoenix.

I found this story (that should have gotten bigger play) by Wesley Smith in the Boston Globe about the lack of opportunities for African Americans in film. He articulates the issue much better than I ever could.

Here are some of the great points he makes - please read the whole piece. (link is below)

When it comes to black America, the movies are stagnating. Well, when it comes to any nonwhite male subject matter at the movies, the pickings are slim. But there's such a wealth of black stars, producers, and directors that the scarcity of movies - big-ticket or small, serious or light - focused on the lives of black people, is surreal. There's a gaping entertainment void. It's not just the lack of quantity. It's the lack of variety. Despite the usual death notices posted for hip-hop, black popular music is alive and well.
At the moment, black movies come in two flavors: uplift dramas and Tyler Perry.

And Perry's success, through no fault of his own, limits what chances the studios are willing to take on black movies. Rickety ghetto comedies, prefab movie biographies, and feel-good historical dramas tailor-made for NAACP Image Award contention are one thing. But a serious, thoughtful act of filmmaking or some real Hollywood glamour is rare.

"Dreamgirls" was blindingly glamorous and was a big fat hit. And we haven't seen anything like it since. The next big part for the movie's Oscar's winner, Jennifer Hudson, is as Sarah Jessica Parker's assistant in the "Sex & the City" movie. "Dreamgirls" had its flaws, but I've almost never had as much fun watching a movie with an audience as I did the two times I watched it in a theater.

A Black Hole (Boston Globe)