Film director Antoine Fuqua is the latest post-racialist to voice his discontent with the proverbial “race card.” He addressed racism in Hollywood during an “Olympus Has Fallen” press tour in the United Kingdom.
The “Training Day” director was frank in his response to a question about the racism permeating the American movie studio system.
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood. But ultimately, you have to put in the work […] It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way […] I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience […] There are no African Americans that run major studios and most of the executives at the top level are not African American. So when the people in those jobs are developing stories, nine times out of 10, their stories won’t be about African Americans – they’ll be about people who look like themselves. To say that those people are racist is not necessarily the case […] 99.9 per cent of the people that have given me my opportunities in this business were not African American […] Denzel [Washington] gave me a great opportunity when we did “Training Day” together, and I also became friends with Mr. Sidney Poitier, who has given me great counsel and advice. But in terms of people in the studio system, most of the people who have given me my jobs were not African American. So I can’t sit back and say Hollywood is racist.”
You can’t, but I will.
Fuqua, who’s married to “Waiting to Exhale’s” Lela Rochon, has an ally in LL Cool J, but other proverbial Hollywood figures disagree with his assessment.
Spike Lee, Terrance Howard and Joaquin Phoenix have all openly-lambasted Hollywood for refusing to diversify its executive ranks. We see the lack of inclusion at the Academy Awards and the war director George Lucas endured to bring “Red Tails” to theaters. Racism in Hollywood is not a fallacy or a figment that materialized from paranoia. It’s real and it’s prevalent, Antoine Fuqua.
We can stop “crying racism” when it no longer exists. So … never.
What do you think of Antoine Fuqua’s assessment of racism in Hollywood?