It’s 9:33pm PST and I’m sitting on Delta Airlines Flight 370. My intentions, as they are with every flight, were to pass out within 10 minutes of boarding until we were 10,000 feet above the earth at which point I’d be able to use my approved portable electronics. I’d pull my laptop out with a bit of a struggle because my shoes are in my bag, and my bag is under a seat with bars, ropes and inflatable life saving devices. I’d work on one of the five scripts I’m currently editing, or make progress on my novel that should have been done by November 2010’s end. None of that happened this time.
Delta Airline decided to show The Social Network, a film I’ve spent the last few months purposely avoiding out of jealousy for Mark’s Z.’s lack of financial struggle all due to his idea. I hate that of all the things that don’t make me jealous, this is the one thing that does. Similarly, this is the exact reason I rarely watch celebrity interviews. Well, partial reason – the other reason being because they talk about nothing that doesn’t happen amongst us common folk.
Back to The Social Network. It’s probably safe to say that we’re halfway through the film now [at 9:47pm PST], and the four people of color in this film have served this purpose:
1. Asian Girl [Christy]: introduced as the whore.
2. Black Guy Sitting At The Table At Restaurant Where Asian Girl Had Sex In Bathroom:the muscle whose job it is to protect the white girl who was called a “bitch” online.
3. The Secretary: because we needed the eye roll and neck pivot from the help.
4. The Silent Black Woman At The Table in the Deposition [who used to be a comedian then a commercial actress – now we get a two-second shot of her]: she used to be a comedian, then a commercial actress.
While definitely a great film, it falls in line with the rest of Hollywood magic in race politics. At this distance above the earth, and without a Gogo Inflight pass, I am unable to find the stats on Harvard’s minority population, Palo Alto’s minority population, and minority populations in every other location where the film was shot, but I can guarantee more people of color exist.
What do we do to grab Hollywood’s attention? A question asked repeatedly. A question that’s been the cause for so much, though so little has changed. Thank God for Melvin Van Peebles and what he began. Thank God for organizations that force production companies to put at least one spot in their sea of whiteness, and thank God for cultural/film critics who watch films with eyes others don’t have. Again, though, what do we do? Short of shooting Hollywood in the back like they did Ricky in John Singleton’s Boyz in the Hood, there isn’t much that can be done – To Hollywood.
Solution to the problem I presented: Screw Hollywood & Make Your Own.
Where, though, lies the difference between what I’m suggesting and what’s been suggested by filmmakers like Tyler Perry, Ice Cube, John Singleton, and by my fellow minority filmmakers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Virginia (yes, Virginia)? Be inclusive. Show the world as you see it.
“How did the friends of Friends and the friends of Living Single live and work in New York City and never cross paths with members of other races?” An outstanding question asked in Teresa Dowell-Vest’s 1998 Production of her one-woman show, Countin’ Stars and Smellin’ Roses.
It’s 10:29pm PST and the film just ended. Watching the film as a movie-goer, it was a great [expletive] film with an outstanding message of ethics, friendship and value, if in fact you cared about the message. In the event it wasn’t a Huxtable lesson you wanted to walk away with, it was just a good movie.