Last night while I was eating some lovely chocolate eclairs, I stumbled upon a BuzzFeed article highlighting the lack of diversity in this year’s “Vanity Fair” Hollywood issue. Out of the ten people featured on the cover, only two of them were people of color, and out of those two both were men. To compare, last year’s cover featured six Hollywood actors of color, one of them being the incomparable Lupita Nyong’o.
The moment I read the title of the article I knew that the comment section would be a mess. For the most part it was white people screaming “OMG THEY’RE RACIST FOR THINKING WE’RE RACIST” although there were some comments by people of color who criticized BuzzFeed for making an issue of the cover. The logic behind some of the comments was that there weren’t many people of color on the cover because they just didn’t stand out this year and that essentially white people really slayed this year.
It is important to note that the “Vanity Fair” Hollywood cover featuring the most diversity was also the lowest selling one in the past five years. So it’s very possible that “Vanity Fair” deliberately decided to highlight more white people because they assumed that it would boost sales. What really bugs me is the idea that white people just happened to contribute more to Hollywood this year. It’s as if people believe that people of color just chose to take a backseat and not take any good movie roles this year. The reality is that Hollywood is an industry dominated by white people, so obviously white people get better roles than people of color. And what bothers me is how butt hurt some white people get whenever someone brings up the fact that blacks aren’t given equal representation. It is laughable to think Hollywood is an industry based solely on talent. I mean if that was the case why was Katie Holmes ever cast in anything?! The type of movies that are made are a direct reflection our own society and the things that value and it seems that we still value the opinion of white people more than other groups.
There’s a lot of factors at play in this type of issue. White people generally make more money than any other group and have more disposable income as a result. They can afford to see Transformers 4 seven times and they dictate what succeeds and what flops. And unfortunately, there is a disconnect with some white people when it comes to movies with people of color. For some reason or another, they cannot or choose not to identify with the cast or characters and do not go out to see it. Unless that movie is “The Help” or
The Butler”, or as I like to call it “Valentines Day- but with more black people”.
I’m a firm believer in showing your true colors. If you don’t like people of color or think you’re better than someone because of your skin tone, just say it! But don’t stand there in the corner and play the victim and scream “reverse racism”, which doesn’t exist! We all know white people have been given more opportunities Hollywood. As a white person, I don’t have to struggle to find a cast of people who look like me, and when I do find movies like that they generally don’t have a plot that revolves around being Caucasian. I’m not asking white people to feel bad for being represented in movies. “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon was great!
I’m just asking that people really take a second before posting such comments to see why they’re so compelled to complain. Maybe you’ll find that your anger is triggered less by the post and more by your unconscious need to protect your own privilege. But anyways this has been a long rant, so I’ll bring it to an end. In conclusion, let’s cast Viola Davis in more roles and give her all of the Oscars in the world. Lord knows she deserves it.