This archived article was written by: Alex Anderson
Underrepresentation in Hollywood is not a new thing among minority communities in the USA. In 2015, more minorities appeared in the top movies of the year but according to the “Huffington Post”, only a quarter off all speaking role went to people of color. A few years ago, the hashtag “#Oscars so white” was trending because the few people of color in Hollywood were looked over for nominations for their white peers. Hollywood was called out for not understanding why it is important to see people who look like you on TV or a large part of your entertainment experience.
It was an announcement by Marvel, about a black superhero and a predominantly black cast with a black director, that caused many to rejoice. Black Twitter was ecstatic and excited to be able to see black people portrayed in a different light on the big screen. More often than not, movies that have a predominantly black cast don not represent modern black communities or represent poor black communities. Most black movies are about slavery or the ghettos. Now don’t get me wrong, “12 Years a Slave” and “Straight Outta Compton” were great movies.
“Black Panther” is important to the black community because representation matters. Seeing someone on TV or in other media is important to children. Think about all the superheroes you can remember-how many of them are black? Superheros are important because children idolize them as a models for behavior. However black children have a limited options of superheros that look like them.
This revolutionary movie is important because it has been in theaters for about a month and has already made more than $1 billion worldwide. This shows Hollywood that black people are part of the market too and, hiring black actors will make a difference. Do not underestimate the minority community and it is willingness to support minority actors and films that show them as a target audience.
“Black panther” showed that you can cast black people as more than gangsters, slaves and basketball players. Black people want to see black actors in speaking roles instead of being the minority token in a movie to meet some type of people of color quota.
If Hollywood produces more movies like “Black Panther” maybe we can start tearing down some of the stereotypes that surround black people. “Black Panther” is more than a movie, it is part of a movement that shows that the black community exists and there are talented people ready to contribute to the Hollywood.