Much like one of its action set-pieces, the discussion around the latest Avengers film has blown up in multiple directions: In the week since its US release, the discussion surrounding Age of Ultron has veered from its massive box-office haul to cast members slut-shaming Black Widow off-screen to Black Widow’s portrayal on it to, finally, writer/director Joss Whedon leaving Twitter because of comments that have been attributed to overzealous “feminists.” (SPOILERS: No, it wasn’t because of that.)
Thinkpieces abound on each of these topics, no doubt, and our own trio of Kendra, Tope and Arturo will touch on some of these issues, while also looking at how the movie’s few — and seemingly far-between — POC fared in Marvel’s latest mega-ensemble story.
Earlier this week we covered the burgeoning campaign against Adam Sandler, Netflix, and their Ridiculous 6 project.
During our coverage, we caught up to Megan Red-Shirt Shaw, who devised the #NotYourHollywoodIndian tag in the wake of the mass walkout by a group of Native American performers, and talked about how the tag came together, how she feels about the defense of the film as “satire,” and where the campaign goes from here.
Let’s start at the beginning: describe, if you would, the moments when you first heard about the actors walking off the Sandler set. How did you go from there to getting the tag together?
Megan Red-Shirt Shaw: I was definitely upset, but also empowered by their decision to take a stand. It’s really difficult to hear that people within our communities are being dishonored – especially in ways that seem like “vintage” issues — the old Western and “Cowboys and Indians” films we’ve come to know really well. I went on Twitter to see what different voices were talking about and realized there wasn’t a hashtag consolidating the ideas. I looked through the original article by Vince Schilling and saw the quotation by Allie Young about being a “Hollywood Indian.” I knew that was what we had to get trending. Continue reading →
“We were supposed to be Apache, but it was really stereotypical and we did not look Apache at all. We looked more like Comanche,” said actor Loren Anthony, a Navajo Nation member. “One thing that really offended a lot of people was that there was a female character called Beaver’s breath. One character says ‘Hey, Beaver’s Breath.’ And the Native woman says, ‘How did you know my name?’”
ICTMN also posted video taken on the set from another performer, Goldie Tom, showing actors voicing their concerns to an unidentified producer.
“We don’t need to sell out our people,” one actor says in the footage.
“I understand completely,” the producer replies. “But we’re not gonna change ‘Beaver Breath.’”
“It’s no surprise, of course, that Adam Sandler has written another movie overflowing with the kinds of jokes that might feel edgy to an 11-year-old who finally understands what sex is,” Sargent observed.
The story quickly picked up traction nationally, blossoming into a rare public blunder for Netflix, which was just coming off the largely-favorable reception for Marvel’s new Daredevil series. And the budding broadcast hub chose to address the issue with a somewhat warmed-over statement.
“The movie has Ridiculous in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous,” the company stated. “It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke.”
While Sandler himself has not weighed in, the chorus of Native Americans supporting the actors has only grown. Natives In America founder Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, a past Racialicious contributor, organized the #NotYourHollywoodIndian tag to rally attention to the incident.
And Netflix itself now faces the prospect of a boycott, as the #WalkOffNetflix campaign is also gaining steam. Online supporters are threatening to abandon the streaming service if it does not cancel Sandler’s project.
Meanwhile, the production staff has reportedly reached out to the actors who left the set, including 74-year-old Choctaw performer David Hill.
“I hope they will listen to us,” said Hill, a member of the American Indian Movement. “We understand this is a comedy, we understand this is humor, but we won’t tolerate disrespect. I told the director if he had talked to a native woman the way they were talked to in this movie — I said I would knock his ass out. This isn’t my first rodeo, if someone doesn’t speak up, no one will.”
If you skipped last night’s ceremony, we certainly don’t blame you. But, Kendra and Arturo were live-snarking throughout the night, and you can catch their recap of the highs and awkward lows under the cut.
How to describe the reaction to Boyhood winning the Best Picture (Drama) award over Selma at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards? Let Lance Reddick sum it up:
And it’s hard to argue. At a time when Ava DuVernay’s look at the Civil Rights Movement is resonating almost eerily with the atmosphere surrounding social justice fights today, it lost out to a Coming-Of-Age Story. David Oyelowo, who led the film’s ensemble cast as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., lost the Best Actor (Drama) award to Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.
So in the aftermath of the show, when people were wondering how Selma could have been shut out of the major awards, it was interesting to get this nugget from Vox culture editor Todd VanDerWerff:
Basically, Paramount apparently ONLY sent screeners for Selma to the Academy. If it pays off in lots of Oscar noms, great. But VERY risky.
VanDerWerff followed it up by saying this was a rumor. But just the thought is mind-boggling: If the theory holds up, Paramount Pictures basically punted on its own potential Golden Globes contender for the sake of taking a shot at the Oscars.
So now, when the movie is getting raked over the coals for being “historically inaccurate” — because James Cameron’s Titanic and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator were documentaries, don’t you know — it’s already losing ground in the Academy Awards horse race to Boyhood.
The lone bright spot for the film on Sunday was Common and John Legend’s win in the Best Original Song category for their collaboration on “Glory.” The victory was capped off by one of the best acceptance speeches of the evening.
“As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote,” Common said. “I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity.”
by Guest Contributor Jon Gosier, originally published at Gosier.org
When I tell people I used to work for Tyler Perry there are overwhelmingly two reactions. The first is the number of people around the world who haven’t ever heard of him or his work. The second reaction is laughter or condescension:
“The guy who dresses like a woman?”
“The guy who makes those black films?”
“The guy who puts his name in the title of all his films?”
Yes. That guy.
Regardless of whether or not you think he’s a creative genius, he is a genius of a different type and a lot smarter than people seem to give him credit for, especially when it comes to business.
First, some background. I only worked for Tyler Perry Studios briefly from 2006 to 2007. It was just after he had closed a deal for $200 million dollars to build his studio in Atlanta and produce his first set of TV Shows, HOUSE OF PAYNE and MEET THE BROWNS, for TBS. I was a Sound Designer and Audio Engineer at the time and not involved in any business dealings so nothing I’m saying here is confidential. In fact, much of what I write here can be discovered through a few searches on Google, Wikipedia or Variety.com.
In any case, through following Perry over the years and reflecting on my own observations at his studio, I learned a lot that I later used to find success in the tech industry. What are some of these lessons?
1- He Knows the Business He’s In
The secret to Tyler Perry’s success is really in that second group of people I mentioned. The smug people who underestimate him.
The first lesson I learned is, rarely are successful people in the business of the things their critics think they are.
People think Tyler Perry is in the business of pleasing the public or critics. He’s not. He’s not even in the business of speaking to his ‘niche’ audience. No, Tyler Perry is in the business of making movies that earn returns for his financiers. Yes, he speaks to an audience he understands but he’s always been smart enough to focus on what matters most which is the bottom-line. Continue reading →
It was a momentous occasion. The sight of John Boyega in the first moments of the teaser for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was a victory — a much-needed statement after the parade of racist caricatures that haunted the series’ three prequels, and a sign that director J.J. Abrams could really be on the right track toward blunting the memory of Jar-Jar Binks from fans’ minds.
But Boyega’s appearance also caused an ugliness to stir from within the Internet’s own hives of scum and villainy — comments sections and the most basic of Twitter accounts — from people who are apparently ready to believe in 7-foot wooly smugglers, diminutive green mystics and swords made of light that are drawn from a person’s connection to an all-encompassing universal essence, while being aghast at the thought that a member of a galactic military brigade can be Black.
These bros are apparently freaking out because Boyega appears wearing Stormtrooper armor. This ignores the fact that Jango Fett, the bounty hunter who provided the blueprint for the original troopers, was played by Temuera Morrison, who is of Maori, Irish and Scottish descent. These “fans” also forgot that the actor who played the young Boba Fett, Daniel Logan, is also Maori.
As The Atlanticpoints out, there’s also an in-canon reason for Boyega to play a Stormtrooper (that is, unless his character is just posing as one):
Even if Morrison and Fett (and all of his clones) choose to pass as white, by the time of the events of “Episode IV: A New Hope,” the Empire has been recruiting from general populations for years. That’s why it makes sense that a young Luke Skywalker, lured by a galaxy larger than the humble moisture farm he calls home on Tatooine, dreams of enlisting in the Imperial Navy.
Luckily, Boyega himself is handling things just fine, going by this Instagram post over the weekend:
On the plus side, we now have an idea of how comments section racists are going to react whenever Lupita Nyong’o appears in any of the Episode VII trailers:
In one of the many footnotes in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Yunior opines:
“Rushdie claims that tyrants and scribblers are natural antagonists, but I think that’s too simple; it lets writers off pretty easy. Dictators, in my opinion, just know competition when they see it. Same with writers. Like, after all, recognizes like.”
Through the mind of Yunior, Junot Diaz expresses a core truth about writing: Despite being a tool of dissent for justice and equality, writing is also a powerful and thoroughly successful method of erasure, revision, and domination.
Through his first feature film, Dear White People, director Justin Simien has demonstrated how film can similarly be a tool for either justice or domination. Through the characters of Helmut West, a reality television show producer and Sam White, an independent documentary filmmaker, Justin Simien dramatizes the different ways in which the film industry has responded to racism and white supremacy.
Helmut West drifts in and out of the film searching for “conflicts” on the campus of Winchester University from which he can create a reality television show. Despite the title of the film directing viewers’ attention towards the many documented micro-aggressions of White characters towards the film’s Black characters, West is a Black man.
His presence raises a critique against the constant search for anti-Black racist acts committed by White people rather than manifestations of White supremacist thinking which, as bell hooks has so eloquently written, operates within us all. Continue reading →
Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World