It’s our shortest month, but this year is Leap Year so we get an extra day, and I can’t help thinking about all the events that are jammed into this month.
Besides Black History Month, events included the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey or Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, President’s Day, the Super Bowl (without the Seahawks, who cares?), Mardi Gras, and the Academy Awards.
It’s Black History Month and, ironically, the 88th Academy Awards were presented last night. Here’s the controversy: Few nominees in all categories were people of color and none in the acting categories. Thank goodness for Chris Rock, who dished it out with finely-sharpened jabs at Hollywood. The audience and presenters included a scattering of non-whites, but it was definitely an OscarsSoWhite show.
It’s the 21st Century, and we’re still talking about the need for diversity in America! We have an African American President of the United States, but we need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter.
I love movies, but television is doing a far better job in offering acting opportunities for non-whites: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Luther,” “Scandal,” “Scorpion,” “The Good Wife,” “Empire,” and “How To Get Away with Murder,” to name just a few.
I want to see movies that reflect the people in my world, the real America where Asians aren’t always criminals or prostitutes. But I’m not talking only about racial diversity, but gender diversity; I want to see more stories about women of all ages on the big screen. Academy Award winner Julianne Moore said that she does not go to movies featuring only men because such a world is unrealistic; this does not reflect her everyday world.
Think about this: What characters in a film could really be female instead of male? What characters could be non-white instead of white? Yes, perhaps some rewriting would be necessary, but think of the creative possibilities. Or take a page out of Shakespeare whose characters often pretended to be someone else of the opposite gender.
Hollywood is a microcosm of the larger world and here are the facts: People of color and women need more career opportunities everywhere, but white men still hold most of the wealth and power in this country. Change is inevitable, but how soon is the question.