Chris Rock wrote a lengthy cover story for the newest issue of the Hollywood Reporter, explaining his experience as a black man in Hollywood, which he calls “a white industry.”
Rock, whose new movie “Top Five” hits theatres next week, says of the entertainment industry:
It’s a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry. I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is. And the black people they do hire tend to be the same person. That person tends to be female and that person tends to be Ivy League. And there’s nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that’s what I want for my daughters. But something tells me that the life my privileged daughters are leading right now might not make them the best candidates to run the black division of anything. And the person who runs the black division of a studio should probably have worked with black people at some point in their life. Clint Culpepper [a white studio chief who specialises in black movies] does a good job at Screen Gems because he’s the kind of guy who would actually go see Best Man Holiday. But how many black men have you met working in Hollywood? They don’t really hire black men. A black man with bass in his voice and maybe a little hint of facial hair? Not going to happen. It is what it is. I’m a guy who’s accepted it all…
It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s a part of it that’s kind of racist — not racist like “F — you, n—–” racist, but just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A. There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else… You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up?
Rock takes particular issue with how few black women are considered for roles in TV and film projects, citing the barrage of “True Detective” season 2 casting rumours as an example:
How about True Detective? I never heard anyone go, “Is it going to be Amy Adams or Gabrielle Union?” for that show. I didn’t hear one black girl’s name on those lists. Not one. Literally everyone in town was up for that part, unless you were black. And I haven’t read the script, but something tells me if Gabrielle Union were Colin Farrell‘s wife, it wouldn’t change a thing. And there are almost no black women in film. You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They will throw a black guy a bone. OK, here’s a black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbours? I’m not sure there are. I don’t remember them. I go to the movies almost every week, and I can go a month and not see a black woman having an actual speaking part in a movie. That’s the truth.
Rock also addressed the difference between white and black fame last month on “CBS This Morning.”
The comedian explained: “Being famous as a black guy is a little different than being famous as a white guy. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor, but Denzel Washington is a god to his people. Denzel Washington has a responsibility to his people that Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, all these guys don’t have.”
Read Rock’s full, revealing essay on The Hollywood Reporter >
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