We recently published an article where Tyrese made the claim that Terrence Howard received acting roles over him based off being “the lighter skinned Black man with the green eyes” of the two actors, which really got a lot of people talking on the topic of how much race matters in Hollywood.
Another Black actor, British funnyman Sir Lenny Henry, is giving the Baby Boy star’s statement some validity by sharing with the world a survey that suggests more than half of minority actors have experienced some form of racism on the job.
The survey, which included a little over 1,300 participants in the UK, was done to benefit the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University. Of the findings, Henry said, “This report finally brings into the open what many of us talk about, and suffer, in private. We all work in this industry because we love it, but we must do better.”
From the 71% of those surveyed who said hair and make-up departments found it troubling to properly touch up their hair or skin tone, to the almost four out of five actors who were encouraged to audition for a role that was stereotypical to their ethnicity, it goes without saying that colorism runs rampant behind the scenes of the big screen.
Take a look at some specific examples of how these acts of prejudice play out in Hollywood, via BBC:
“The report said stereotypes were hard-wired into casting notes, with Afro-Caribbean actors often told to ‘play it more sassy, urban and street.’
In other examples, actors of various ethnicities were asked to ‘do a Middle-Eastern accent’ or ‘sound ‘more Asian.’
The findings correlate with previous studies, including a 2016 report by the British Film Institute, which found that Afro-Caribbean actors were more likely to be cast in roles connected to slavery, racism, colonialism, crime and gangs.
Sir Lenny said the lack of diversity in casting was ‘one of the greatest challenges facing the industry.’
He wrote: ‘Every time we see a great actor like Thandiwe Newton, Idris Elba or David Harewood leave these shores to find opportunities denied to them in the UK, it is a painful reminder of why casting is so important.’”
While Sir Lenny Henry’s report reflected on how things are going down overseas, you can clearly see by Tyrese’s aforementioned comments that America is suffering from the same problem as well.
So, what’s the verdict? Do we create our own studios? Come together for a union-style strike? What do you think should be done to correct this issue? Sound off and let us know your thoughts!
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