[Discussion] On Television, Cinema and Race

Thread for race issues in media.

Birth Of a Nation
This movie isn't do so good. I think this is because black people are tired of slave type movies, white people don't want the white guilt, and everybody else is turned off by the rape case. I mean this in general. This is just a perfect storm for the downfall of the movie.

Surviving Compton
Straight out of compton left out the ladies. This lifetime show means to correct that. I believe all of the production was done by women.

Mulan live.
All Chinese cast. Maybe the dumb choices of Gods of Egypt are over.

Gremlin wrote:

LA Times: Climate change: It took 25 years before Hollywood was ready for Harriet Tubman

Picture 1994: “This is a great script. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,” said the then-president of a studio sublabel. Fortunately, there was a single black person in that studio meeting 25 years ago who told him that Harriet Tubman was a black woman. The president replied, “That was so long ago. No one will know that.”

Thus began the epic 25-year journey of getting my Harriet Tubman script to the screen.

That's so awful I'm almost impressed.

Don't know if this is the right thread for this, but Native American comedian Joey Clift was invited to guest on the podcast "How Did This Get Played" in a Thanksgiving episode discussing Custer's Revenge. Rather than ignore the obvious issue with that, he went on the show, and called out the hosts for tokenizing him. It's a really powerful discussion, and while uncomfortable, it also highlights a better way for people to respond when they're called out on being racist. The hosts apologized, asked how they can be better, and invited him to come back for an episode that highlights his complete self. They even gave him final edit of the episode and asked him to write the description. It's well worth listening to (discussion starts at about 23:30).

trichy wrote:

Don't know if this is the right thread for this, but Native American comedian Joey Clift was invited to guest on the podcast "How Did This Get Played" in a Thanksgiving episode discussing Custer's Revenge. Rather than ignore the obvious issue with that, he went on the show, and called out the hosts for tokenizing him. It's a really powerful discussion, and while uncomfortable, it also highlights a better way for people to respond when they're called out on being racist. The hosts apologized, asked how they can be better, and invited him to come back for an episode that highlights his complete self. They even gave him final edit of the episode and asked him to write the description. It's well worth listening to (discussion starts at about 23:30).

Yeah it was a very enlightening conversation, and I really respect Joey for handling it the way he did.
He also wrote a really good follow-up article: I celebrated Native American Heritage Month by ruining a comedy podcast

So no black people or female directors were nominated in the Oscars this year. Made me think if gender was removed would any women get nominated for anything. I gave up on award shows so don't know if others did better.

Cynthia Arivo was nominated for Best Actress for Harriet, but I think she's the only black nominee for anything. Antonio Banderas was nominated for Best Actor, and Bong Joon-Ho was nominated for Best Director. Otherwise yeah, #OscarsSoWhite is still in full effect.

And Greta Gerwin not being nominated for Best Director is total bullsh*t. Same with Lupita Nyong'o not getting nominated for Best Actress. I thought Us was pretty problematic, but her performance was still f*cking great.

Isn't Antonio Banderas white?

slazev wrote:

Isn't Antonio Banderas white?

I had misremembered him as being from a country in Central America, but he's Spanish. So Hispanic but not Latino. My mistake.

So in that case is not about race, but nationality?

I have nowhere else to post this, but I simply must scream:

So at my job's Facebook page we put up a "Happy Black History Month!" post. Now, I fully expected the "what happened to red history month and what happened to yellow history month?" guy, because that moron is always right on time.

However, the lady who asked "Isn't it racist to select one race to celebrate? What month is Italian month? French?" was particularly impressive because ITALIAN HERITAGE MONTH IS LITERALLY OCTOBER IT LITERALLY IS A A MONTH.

Prederick wrote:

I have nowhere else to post this, but I simply must scream:

So at my job's Facebook page we put up a "Happy Black History Month!" post. Now, I fully expected the "what happened to red history month and what happened to yellow history month?" guy, because that moron is always right on time.

However, the lady who asked "Isn't it racist to select one race to celebrate? What month is Italian month? French?" was particularly impressive because ITALIAN HERITAGE MONTH IS LITERALLY OCTOBER IT LITERALLY IS A A MONTH.

But what about the French?!?!
Checkmate.

They get Bastille Day celebrations and Louisiana, they'll have to live with it.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
slazev wrote:

Isn't Antonio Banderas white?

I had misremembered him as being from a country in Central America, but he's Spanish. So Hispanic but not Latino. My mistake.

This is actually a point of great contention

Okay. I, personally, don't think it's particularly important to anyone but the most woke people on Twitter who was doing the voice of the mixed-race girl on Big Mouth or Cleveland on Family Guy.

But if there is one of these things I do find interesting, it's Diane Nguyen from Bojack Horseman, mostly because the character, as written, would definitely throw some side-eye at the show for casting Allison Brie in the role (especially after the episode where she tries to reconnect with her roots in Vietnam).

I think this is a complicated issue. On the one hand, I could give a sh*t if Hank Azaria is doing Carl's voice on The Simpsons, and feel that anyone who possibly could needs to find a hobby (again, bigger issues I'd like taken care of first, this is, if it's on a list, so far down it we might not get to it until 2080), but seen through the prism of minorities having equal opportunities in the industry, again, it gets more complicated.

And I think Alison Brie did a great job as Diane. But for a show written as it was, it did seem.... odd. Like, what's more important? Having her voiced by an Asian actor, or having someone of Asian descent in a position of power behind the scenes who can help make sure the character is three dimensional and interesting? And are there further lines to be set? Can someone of Chinese descent play a Japanese character (or vice-versa), because I feel fairly sure there you could find some people in certain circumstances who'd take issue with that.

Again, my feelings on it are mixed. I want more opportunities for minority actors, but I also roll my eyes at accusations that Cleveland being voiced by a white man is in any way "blackface." But that's Cleveland, on a different show (i.e. - Bojack), while I woulnd't use that language I might find that kind of casting more (/deep, resigned sigh at using jargon) problematic.

EDIT: Also, hard cosign on this conspiaracy theory.

I don’t get the “conspiracy” of The Golden Girls. The episode was about the race (black) of a character. A they wore blackface to make a “we're not black” joke.

Seems pretty cut and dried to me. It was rightfully pulled.

They didn't wear blackface. A joke about blackface is not blackface.

I wouldn't go as far as it call it a conspiracy, but if the BLM movement devolves into arguments over The Golden Girls it's going to make normal people take the serious concerns with systemic racism far less seriously.

Prederick wrote:

Again, my feelings on it are mixed. I want more opportunities for minority actors, but I also roll my eyes at accusations that Cleveland being voiced by a white man is in any way "blackface." But that's Cleveland, on a different show (i.e. - Bojack), while I woulnd't use that language I might find that kind of casting more (/deep, resigned sigh at using jargon) problematic.

I didn't see the show, either animated or live, so I can only speak in general terms. I will say that, for the most part, fictional white characters don't have whiteness as a part of their identity; there are exceptions, but casting anyone to play them is usually fine. This is particularly true with mythical characters (eg, Norse gods, superheroes, hobbits, elves, that sort of thing), as they're fully imaginary anyway, so you can imagine them any way you like. I don't see any particular reason why you can't have a black Frodo, Gandalf, or Elrond, as odd as that may seem after Jackson's movies.

Fictional characters of other ethnicities might or might not have that as part of their essential characters. For instance, the Avatar The Last Airbender live-action movie (which I didn't actually see, but I heard mentioned recently, so it comes to mind) was heavily whitewashed. I don't see anything wrong with any particular character being of any particular race, but that world has very definite ethnicities and, while they don't need to mirror the cartoon, they should have been self-accurate. That is, Katara and Sokka should have been of the same ethnicity, Aang should have been something else, Zuko and Iroh should have been something else again, and so on. Copying the animated characters would have been ideal, but any ethnic mix that made sense could have worked. But it needed to be a mix. Casting all white people broke one of the most important parts of the cartoon.

From your description, Diane Nguyen being a mix of Black and Vietnamese was important to the character, so it seems like casting Brie was a major miss. Again, I didn't see it, so I don't have a strong opinion, but from your description, that sounds like a mistake.

That said, finding a half-black, half-Vietnamese actress, available at the right time, and who was good enough to carry the role might have been tough. (edit to add: As an example, look at Bobbie in The Expanse; they went to great trouble to find someone who looked the part, but she wasn't a very experienced actress, and didn't really settle into the role until her second season. In traditional casting, she'd never have made the cut: her first year was often quite awkward. She didn't do a good job of selling herself as a Marine. But in her second season, she was much better.)

And then there's historical characters, which gets touchy. That has an unfortunate effect of shutting out minorities from important roles, because whites have been in power for so long. I don't know how to deal with that. Maybe just ignore it and cast anyone?

Djinn wrote:

They didn't wear blackface. A joke about blackface is not blackface.

I wouldn't go as far as it call it a conspiracy, but if the BLM movement devolves into arguments over The Golden Girls it's going to make normal people take the serious concerns with systemic racism far less seriously.

They literally put brown mud on their skin and then said, “we're not black.”

No f*cking sh*t!

Sure, if you ignore all the context of the scene and the episode.

Malor wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Again, my feelings on it are mixed. I want more opportunities for minority actors, but I also roll my eyes at accusations that Cleveland being voiced by a white man is in any way "blackface." But that's Cleveland, on a different show (i.e. - Bojack), while I woulnd't use that language I might find that kind of casting more (/deep, resigned sigh at using jargon) problematic.

I didn't see the show, either animated or live, so I can only speak in general terms. I will say that, for the most part, fictional white characters don't have whiteness as a part of their identity; there are exceptions, but casting anyone to play them is usually fine. This is particularly true with mythical characters (eg, Norse gods, superheroes, hobbits, elves, that sort of thing), as they're fully imaginary anyway, so you can imagine them any way you like. I don't see any particular reason why you can't have a black Frodo, Gandalf, or Elrond, as odd as that may seem after Jackson's movies.

Fictional characters of other ethnicities might or might not have that as part of their essential characters. For instance, the Avatar The Last Airbender live-action movie (which I didn't actually see, but I heard mentioned recently, so it comes to mind) was heavily whitewashed. I don't see anything wrong with any particular character being of any particular race, but that world has very definite ethnicities and, while they don't need to mirror the cartoon, they should have been self-accurate. That is, Katara and Sokka should have been of the same ethnicity, Aang should have been something else, Zuko and Iroh should have been something else again, and so on. Copying the animated characters would have been ideal, but any ethnic mix that made sense could have worked. But it needed to be a mix. Casting all white people broke one of the most important parts of the cartoon.

From your description, Diane Nguyen being a mix of Black and Vietnamese was important to the character, so it seems like casting Brie was a major miss. Again, I didn't see it, so I don't have a strong opinion, but from your description, that sounds like a mistake.

That said, finding a half-black, half-Vietnamese actress, available at the right time, and who was good enough to carry the role might have been tough. (edit to add: As an example, look at Bobbie in The Expanse; they went to great trouble to find someone who looked the part, but she wasn't a very experienced actress, and didn't really settle into the role until her second season. In traditional casting, she'd never have made the cut: her first year was often quite awkward. She didn't do a good job of selling herself as a Marine. But in her second season, she was much better.)

And then there's historical characters, which gets touchy. That has an unfortunate effect of shutting out minorities from important roles, because whites have been in power for so long. I don't know how to deal with that. Maybe just ignore it and cast anyone?

Not that it is important to your overall point, but when was it mentioned Diane was half-black? I never finished the last several seasons, but it seemed other than Gary the whole family was Vietnamese.

Maybe I misunderstood? In rereading, I'm not sure where I got that. Major reading comprehension fail. Somehow, I went from Asian to half-Black and Asian.

I imagine finding a talented Vietnamese actress would be much easier.

Oh yes, sorry if I was confusing, but the character of Diane Nguyen is just Vietnamese, not mixed-race.

Malor wrote:

Fictional characters of other ethnicities might or might not have that as part of their essential characters. For instance, the Avatar The Last Airbender live-action movie (which I didn't actually see, but I heard mentioned recently, so it comes to mind) was heavily whitewashed. I don't see anything wrong with any particular character being of any particular race, but that world has very definite ethnicities and, while they don't need to mirror the cartoon, they should have been self-accurate. That is, Katara and Sokka should have been of the same ethnicity, Aang should have been something else, Zuko and Iroh should have been something else again, and so on. Copying the animated characters would have been ideal, but any ethnic mix that made sense could have worked. But it needed to be a mix. Casting all white people broke one of the most important parts of the cartoon.

There was definitely "washing" on that movie, but not just white.

I found it primarily to be yet another argument for my "Animation to Live Action doesn't work 1/100th as well as Live Action to Animation" does. I have no idea why people clamor for live-action versions of animated things, you're not gaining anything in translation, only losing things.

slazev wrote:

There was definitely "washing" on that movie, but not just white.

I haven't seen it, so your reference whooshed past overhead. I only used it as an example because it was mentioned to me recently, so it came to mind when thinking about white actors in non-white roles. I've watched the whole cartoon series (and thought it was fantastic) and thus felt qualified to comment on that specific case, even without seeing the movie.

Prederick wrote:

I found it primarily to be yet another argument for my "Animation to Live Action doesn't work 1/100th as well as Live Action to Animation" does. I have no idea why people clamor for live-action versions of animated things, you're not gaining anything in translation, only losing things.

Agreed. I'm not sure I've ever seen a live action version that improved on an animated original.

Malor wrote:
slazev wrote:

There was definitely "washing" on that movie, but not just white.

I haven't seen it, so your reference whooshed past overhead. I only used it as an example because it was mentioned to me recently, so it came to mind when thinking about white actors in non-white roles. I've watched the whole cartoon series (and thought it was fantastic) and thus felt qualified to comment on that specific case, even without seeing the movie.

Basically, the Fire Nation got brown actors, instead of eastern Asian ones. The whole thing is a mess.

Basically, the Fire Nation got brown actors

Oh, for f*ck sake. How blatant could you get?