Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) Taraji P. Henson Executive Produces Indie ‘Seasons of Love’ (Appears Alongside Gladys Knight, LeToya Luckett) TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) 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...

Jimmie Walker Says Your Constant Complaining Discourages Studios From Taking Risks On Black Stories

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 2, 2013 at 3:13PM

In a good interview with NPR earlier today, Jimmie Walker of Good Times fame, had a few things to say, when host Michel Martin asked him to respond to criticism (then and still now) of the show that would make him a star - specifically, the notion that it encouraged and exploited stereotypes of black people.
55
Jimmie Walker

In a good interview with NPR earlier today, Jimmie Walker of Good Times fame, had a few things to say, when host Michel Martin asked him to respond to criticism (then and still now) of the show that would make him a star - specifically, the notion that it encouraged and exploited stereotypes of black people.

In addition to challenging those criticisms by exalting the show's pros (like the many issues that affected the black community that it did tackle), Walker argued that it is essentially because of the fact that we (black people - although, in fairness, not all of us), routinely (and reductively, I might add) reject what we deem as "negative" depictions of black people on screen, so much that Hollywood studios, and other financial risk-takers in TV and film, are less willing to back productions that tell complex stories about black people. 

In short, they (the studio execs and financiers) would rather just not deal with the hassle (in the form of outrage or protest from the black community), and thus, suggesting that, unlike what many believe to be the case - that Hollywood isn't sensitive to the lack of variety in its productions - is instead the opposite; that Hollywood is very sensitive to the feelings and needs of under-represented groups (in this case, black folks), because they are concerned that certain depictions of black people wouldn't be embraced. 

Take for example, the recent petition to boycott Flight, because of the kind of character Denzel Washington plays - a drunk, drug addict who has a relationship with a white woman, who's also an addict.

I believe it was Boyce Watkins who started that petition, although I don't think anything came of it - thank goodness for that! (CORRECTION - as Dr Watkins notes in the comment section below, he didn't start the petition; he only wrote about it in one of his blogs. I should however, also note that Dr. Watkins suggested a boycott, with respect to Denzel Washington's performance in Flight, arguing that the Academy only seems to reward black actors when they are, as he stated, "forced to debase themselves and play to racist stereotypes in order to be recognized." Read The Hollywood Reporter's piece on that HERE).

Here's Jimmie Walker's quote:

What happens is, it also is reflective in black TV shows and movies, that you're not gonna get anymore of those because of the constant complaining, moaning and groaning... The point is to make money. And therefore, the network themselves have actually stopped doing any ethnic shows, because they don't want the aggravation... What has happened is that any minority character you see on a show now is always the police commissioner, the head of the hospital, the school superintendent. Those kinds of people don't invoke followers. The people who are going to get attention are the wacky guys... who eventually become stars... You'll never see a black Will Ferrell, You'll never see a black Adam Sandler, because black people aren't allowed to play those kind of roles.

So does Walker have a point there? Are we, in essence, partly to blame here for the lack of variety in depictions of black stories on screen, because we are, albeit unintentionally, discouraging studio execs and other financiers from taking any risks with us and our stories, because they aren't quite sure how we will respond to one kind of portrayal or another, and would rather just not deal with the hassle?

What do you think about what he's saying there?

And, by the way, Walker also added that he's doing a Showtime special, titled It's Not All Dy-no-mite, which will be recorded in Raleigh, NC soon, and will air on the network some time after.

Feel free to listen to the full interview HERE.

This article is related to: Jimmie Walker


Shadow & ActNewsletter