Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Dear Hollywood, It's 2012
I just read about how George Lucas couldn't get his film, Red Tails, supported or distributed by any major Hollywood companies because it has an all black cast and is therefore seen as both unmarketable and unprofitable. The movie, which Lucas has been trying to get made for 23 years and paid for the making of himself, is an action flick about the Tuskagee airmen who fought in WWII. I'm more than dismayed to still see artists coming up against this type of inertia. It's not just racism, but also an unwillingness to change how things are done. There is this idea that a movie like this couldn't attract a mainstream (i.e. white) audience, and sadly, for the most part, they could be right. When I read news stories that shake me up, I'm always looking for the lessons I can learn from them. I'm reminded of how important it is to not only go to see theatre or films that immediately appeal to me, but to also look for work that isn't such an obvious choice for me. There are tremendous things I can learn by seeing a movie made by people I've never heard of or about a subject I know nothing about. It can be an eye opening experience to attend a play set within a culture unfamiliar to me. Perhaps there is a show playing somewhere nearby that at first glance seems to be far outside my usual comfort zone. How refreshing it would be to see more people making such choices. We could show those who hold the purse strings that they underestimate their audiences.