Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hollywood's portrayal of minority groups

June 1, 2016

The racial issues in the Hollywood film industry became prominent when the nominations for the 2016 Oscar Awards were announced earlier this year.

African American actors and actresses, such as Jada Pinkett-Smith were so frustrated with the 2016 Academy nomination's, Pinkett-Smith took to Facebook to upload a video asking that African American's boycott the Oscars.

"Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back into our community, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves, that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit. That are just as good as the so called mainstream ones," Pinkett-Smith said in a video she posted online.

Pinkett-Smith's husband and Hollywood actor, Will Smith, sat down for an interview with Good Morning America and spoke about his own view points on the representation of African Americans at the Oscars.

"This is about children who are going to sit down, they're going to watch the show, and they're not going to see themselves being represented," Smith said.

The lack of diversity at the Oscars isn't the only issue racial minority groups have in the Hollywood film industry. The lack of roles for black, Asian, Hispanic and other minority actors has been an issue for many years.

The stereotypical roles for racial minority group actors are also an issue. Jeffrey Wray, an MSU associate professor of film studies and African American literature and culture, had similar views to the Smith's on the racial issues in film.

"Jada had every right to say what she said, I feel that her statement and Will's statement put pressure on the expectations of the Academy," Wray said. 

Wray spoke about how times have changed and why race issues in Hollywood are so important in today's society.

"If this was to happened in 1984, it would be expected, but for it to be 2015 and 2016 and this thing is still happening it's not tolerated," Wray said.

"But these awards were just the tip of the ice berg. There are Asian Americans, Latino American's, etcetera, who aren't getting nominated for awards."

Wray went on to discuss what he believes is the real issue when speaking about race in the film industry.

"We have to look at who decides on these limited rolls, before looking at who the Academy has nominated," Wray said. "Why are there still limited rolls offered to black people? We need to force people to start to think about what's really going on behind the scenes in the film industry."

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