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John Singleton Gives Scathing Criticism of Hollywood: "They Ain't Letting Black People Tell Their Stories"

Photo of Jai Tiggett By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act March 24, 2014 at 12:20PM

Director John Singleton had some pointed words about the studio system during a recent event at Loyola Marymount University.
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John Singleton

Director John Singleton had some pointed words about the studio system during a recent event at Loyola Marymount University. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Singleton spoke about the climate for black filmmakers, his upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic, and also expanded upon the op-ed he wrote late last year discussing the lack of black directors helming black films. 

On studios not advocating strongly for black filmmakers:

"They ain't letting the black people tell their stories. And you're like, oh ok, we're going to take your stories but you know what, you're going to go starve over here and we're not going to let you get a job... Because the so-called liberals that are in Hollywood now are not as good as their parents or ancestors. They feel they're not racist.  They're not racist, they grew up with Hip Hop so you can't be racist.  I like Jay-Z, but that don't mean I got to give you a job. You see what I'm saying?"

On white directors telling black stories: 

"Taylor Hackford did a great job on Ray... You can watch what Brian Helgeland did on 42. But those people also had a respect and they also had people who were African-American behind the scenes who were allowed to give opinions to make it special... They did a good job because they had respect for the thing. They didn't say I'm going to tell the story and I'm not going to give nobody black a job. There's a difference."

On the potential in independent films: 

"Films are being made outside of the certain norm, people are putting in and financing. That's a liberating thing. You're going to get different types of stories made.  A good example of a person who happens not to be black, Benh Zeitlin who did Beasts of the Southern Wild, that would never have been made if it hadn't been made in that model.  That could never have been made in the studio.  12 Years a Slave could never have been made in the studio model... Both of those films were very profitable."

See video of the conversation below, and find the full transcript HERE.

This article is related to: John Singleton


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