As a black screenwriter in the world of storytelling, I realize more than ever that Hollywood needs me. Why??? Simply put, they need a different perspective. A fresher approach. Better thinking outside the box. A break from the typical status quo. A shift from the fancy metrics used to determine box office success. It’s time for a change. Time for embracing more diverse stories. Time to show that faces other than the “mainstream” persuasion are just as bankable if given a chance to. Hollywood needs me.
After I read about the latest box office casualty, Ghost In The Shell, it showed why Hollywood needs more voices like mine in the game. You can’t “westernize” a classic film by replacing the lead character who was an Asian female with a white one. That’s like remaking Shaft with Tom Cruise or Zorro with Ryan Reynolds. The director of GITS admitted that casting a white female as the lead role could have been the “misstep” leading to its demise from a profitable standpoint. Not to mention that the studio who made the film contemplated making Scarlett Johansson look Asian during the shoot, adding more fuel to the fire. Talk about an insult!!! The powers-that-be not only believed an Asian actress could carry the box office weight to make money, they were going to alter someone else’s face to make them look the part??? Can I get the whitewashing cycle please??? Make sure to add plenty of wax to shine it up real good too!!! SMDH.
If you look at the landscape of today’s films, you’d think in sci-fi no other ethnic group will exist in the future, only white guys saves the world as spies, and only white women fall madly in love as hopeless romantics. In other mediums, such as animation, you’ll see an animal as a main character more than a black or brown face, and in video games, where do we as the soon-to-be majority exist other than football & basketball games??? This is a narrative that needs to change. This is why Hollywood needs me.
Am I being too arrogant in saying this??? Perhaps. Am I being racist or too liberal??? I don’t think so, nor am I trying to come off as such. I’m not saying that all white actors & actresses should be eliminated from the game. I’m just an advocate of having more balance & opportunity. There are a lot of “me’s” out there who are telling stories in every entertainment medium & have just as much punch as what you normally see at the theatre. This is why Hollywood needs me. They need to be shown that color equals dollars. Diversity equals more eyeballs on the screen & asses in the theatre seats.
If you think I’m wrong, then why is China the second largest market in box office attendance??? Why are countries such as Nigeria an emerging market in film??? Why is the Hispanic population becoming more consumers at the box office??? They love our creativity & want to be apart of the experience. So isn’t it only natural they want to see folk that look like them on the big screen???
We need diverse heroes that save the day. We need Black females in lead roles that go beyond the usual rhetoric you see on reality shows. We need sci-fi stories that show the soon-to-be majority will be around in the future. These kind of stories are bankable. Movies such as Hidden Figures, Get Out, and Moonlight prove it. TV Shows such as Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Quantico and Empire prove it. Now some progress has been made in bringing diverse heroes to the forefront. Marvel has done a good job rebranding some of their major characters with different ethnic backgrounds and gender. The Fast And Furious franchise is a billion dollar money maker based off a diverse cast. The reset of 24 has a black character saving the country. So the trend is sliding up. We just need to keep the foot on the pedal, and not only in front of the camera. We need diverse executives greenlighting these kind of projects as well.
So Hollywood, I got plenty of stories for your enjoyment. Plenty of ideas that you’ve probably overlooked in those piles of screenplays that you’ve tossed aside. You just need an open mind of creativity and take more of a risk. I’m available if you’re willing to listen. But even if you’re not, I’m still coming. Because you need me. #RetributionINC #BlackShogun #SypherRose #JustToNameAFew