The Longest Lie

It’s the one that says that Hollywood only cares about getting  money.

It’s the one where all you need to do is show success at a high enough level for Hollywood and its associated industries to “follow your example.”

It’s the one that perpetuates the lie that Hollywood is a meritocracy; Hollywood will recognize your achievements if you demonstrate that you can make large amounts of money for them.

These things have never been true about Hollywood productions from day one.  Yet, this is the excuse that is given movies starring People of Color are never green-lighted.  Or when popular superheroes of Color are either portrayed by White people on the Big Screen (as it was with Fist of the North Star, Dragonball: Evolution, and The Last Airbender); Failing that, a Superhero who was recently popularized as a Person of Color is “reverted” back to being White in time for the major motion picture (Justice League Unlimited cartoon featured John Stewart as Green Lantern, who was dumped in favor of Hal Jordan for the live action movie).

In order to believe that Hollywood is a meritocracy, you would have to discard the reality in front of you.

You would have to ignore the fact that outside of “imported” Asian martial arts flicks, Women of Color never star in action vehicles.

Halle Berry, for example, starred in Catwoman as the headline.  Outside of Angelina Jolie, name one actress who starred in an action movie (in which the actress was the selling point of the film) which made more money, even adjusted for, inflation than Catwoman?  The only one you can really point to is Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (and that one is rife with its own issues).  Yet, Zoe Saldana’s Columbiana is the only one starring a Woman of Color that has been released since Catwoman.

It’s not like the Men of Color have it much better, either.  Hancock (a movie which I’m not real happy about) made $600 million in the theatres worldwide. Blade was the first Marvel franchise superhero to make money on the big screens…ever.  Blade II was the first comic book movie sequel for Marvel to do the same.

Yet, what has been released since?

No Luke Cage movie.  No Black Panther.  No Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel OR Photon.

Instead, we get movies like Hanna (which failed), Sucker Punch (which failed), Green Lantern (featuring Hal Jordan…which failed), Super (which…even as an “art-house” release…failed), Haywire (which came in and left just as quickly), Superman Returns (A perfect companion to My Super-Ex Girlfriend, considering they share similar circumstances regarding love and superheroes), 2 Hulk films (which needed its merchandising sales just to break even), the Fantastic Four’s 2 films (again, failed), and so on.

And if you really want to see how bleak the picture for People of Color can be, look over the following page:

And scroll through to the next several pages.

My point in all of this?

The excuse that Hollywood doesn’t make and promote films that don’t “make money” is false on its face.  It is, however, a convenient excuse to pull when a movie starring people of color falls flat (because of a bad script, poor casting, no marketing budget, filming issues, and so on – the kinds of things that can happen to films not starring persons of color) AND it becomes clear that there aren’t any new projects with people of color as the headliner.  Yet, this reasoning does not preclude Hollywood from continuously making films that star White men (with a smattering of White women) that are lasciviously budgeted, marketed, and hyped.  But, these films fail at a rate higher than with anyone else.

But the defenders of the status quo seem to say everything but the truth.  They are happy to take your money from you in the end, but have no wish to listen to your input.  And then get mad at you when you try to create your own.

The only copycat nature in Hollywood is the Whitewash.  That whitewash is blamed on the lust for absolute money and profit.

In other words, green covers white.

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