Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Now We Know for Certain Whether Ava DuVernay Will be Directing Marvel’s ‘Black Panther' Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Revolution Cinema: 5 Films to Put on Your "To-See" List This July 4th Holiday Weekend Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) Donald Glover's FX Project 'Atlanta' Casts its Leads as Production Gets Underway (Atlanta is *Hot* This Year) ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ABC Is Rebooting 'To Tell the Truth' with Anthony Anderson & NeNe Leakes ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix ‘Little White Lie' - Engrossing Look Into One Family's Silence, Secrets & Denial of Race - Now Streaming on Netflix "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' "Your Legacy Is More Than a Name" - Watch Michael B. Jordan in First Trailer for 'Creed' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' Trailer: Hannibal Buress Asks Life's Biggest Questions in New Comedy Central Series Coming 7/8, After 'Key & Peele' 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying 'Extant' Returns to CBS 7/1. Get Caught Up w/ This 1-Minute Recap + Read What Critics Are Saying Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Today, 26 Years Ago, 'Do The Right Thing' Opened in Theaters. Watch the Cast & Crew Reunite Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman & Julia Roberts Seek Justice in First Trailer for 'Secret in Their Eyes' Remake Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Issa Rae's HBO-Bound 'Awkward Black Girl'-esque Comedy Gets a Director Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ Watch Trailer for Fascinating New Documentary About Black Men and Chess - ‘Sideline’ The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' The Irresponsibility of 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Zadie Smith Will Make Her Feature Screenwriting Debut, Teaming up w/ Claire Denis for Sci-Fi Project Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) 'Supremacy' Director Deon Taylor Talks Race, Horror, and Working With Lela Rochon (LAFF Premiere) Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

"Black Filmmakers Are (Or Should Be) Obligated To Tell Stories Primarily About Black People" (Discuss)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 25, 2012 at 1:19PM

Slow news day, so how about a survey? :)
101
Eric Deggans

Slow news day, so how about a survey? :)

Revisiting a question I last asked in 2010, when the site wasn't as much of a draw as it is today, 2 years later...

Here's a conversation I had in the past with a frustrated black filmmaker friend... I'm paraphrasing here, but the gist of it is clear enough:

HIM: "I'm done! My next project, I'm casting white folks."

Silence. Not sure if he's just messing around, only to realize that he's dead serious.

ME: "Why?"

HIM: "They're more... umm... 'accessible.'"

Followed by a devilish grin.

HIM: "For real; Gotta do what we gotta do to make it."

I asked him to explain what he meant by "accessible," knowing what he likely did mean, but needed clarification; in a nutshell, revealing what I think most of us already know, and have been fighting against for decades... the notion that films with predominantly Caucasian-starring casts seem to generally have a better shot at being financed, and widely seen, than films that center around the lives of people from any other so-called "minority" group; unless your film, with an overwhelmingly black cast, fits a familiar or proven mold.

I'd like to read what the rest of you think.

In the context of this blog, are black filmmakers (or SHOULD black filmmakers be), first and foremost, obligated to tell stories primarily about black people, given the dearth of people of African descent on our TV and theater screens? Is that a fair expectation of them? And I'm really curious if the thinking of my friend in the conversation above is common among many of you black filmmakers reading this - essentially, that a lot of you are indeed frustrated with the state of things, and are feeling pressured into rethinking how you write/cast your projects, influenced by what you see are your odds at success being somewhat dependent on the skin color of the characters in your films?

I should also toss in August Wilson's argument that he only wanted black directors to direct film adaptations of his plays, as another angle to consider in this conversation.

So put all that in a pot, stir it, and let it cook.

Discuss...


Shadow & ActNewsletter