Since founding Black Hollywood it’s been nothing short of an uphill battle. Adversity has become my friend. I want people to really understand my mission, but it’s difficult. In light of recent events, namely people of color largely being shutout of the Oscars, I wonder to myself will this be the catalyst for change that we need? I see there is a coalition brewing that has similar ideas, but no one is taking the next step to make it a reality, no one agrees to disagree, while still remaining on one accord when it comes to the larger purpose. It feels like no one is ready to get out of our comfort zone and put our money where our mouth is. In my mind the alternative that is Black Hollywood, is to put our money together and vote as a block! Simple in theory but very hard to accomplish.
It saddens me that we don’t trust each other enough to do something that will really impact our future. And for the people that believe that all the “Black Hollywood talk” is frivolous, I would posit that our image in the media IS the reason that people can be dismissive of us, call us thugs, and shoot us in the street, over-sexualize us, objectify us, and economically disenfranchise us. I don’t know about you, but I’m not taking that lying down.
The idea hit me so hard. It came to me in a dream not unlike Martin Luther King …
On Martin Luther King’s birthday this year Jada Pinkett-Smith became the most visible face of an issue I’ve attempted to tackle for the last three years.
I know some people are afraid of becoming what we are fighting against, some type of separatist movement, but we can find a great example in the black church, one of the most inclusive and diverse places I’ve ever been, no one ever is turned away even after events like the South Carolina church shooting. Hollywood now lies in polar opposition to this idea, it’s not for everybody, and the fear that lies in people working at the highest level of the business is that one day they might have to include everybody.
From a conversation with a friend who wanted to support Black Hollywood:
I’ll explain what I know because it’s a huge idea and it’s evolving as we speak. I want Black Hollywood to evolve based on the whole as opposed to the individual. Based on the work of Dr Claud Anderson and others, I’ve realized that no change of any real magnitude will come without an economic foundation that can support doing things outside of the ways that they have been done. (I mean we’re dealing with an industry who’s first offering was Birth of a Nation.) Along with that I would like to operate as a studio that fosters independence. I’m not into policing what is being made but I am interested in providing the leverage that will take black artists out of relying fully on a system that is inherently biased.
So I implore you to let our dollars be our voice, we’re on trend to have a buying power of $1.4 trillion by 2019, even if every one of you just gave a dollar…we can make a statement.