Steve Harvey Claims Hollywood Is More Racist Than America

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by Sergio
March 15, 2013 2:24 PM
39 Comments
  • |

Steve Harvey should be a very happy man. He has a hit daytime talk show, still hosts a popular TV game show, has best selling books that become box office hit movies, a popular self described relationship expert (please no snickering), and a very successful comedy career to boot.

But there are some things that Harvey is not happy about.

In a recent piece about him in the Hollywood Reporter, Harvey lashed out at the unfairness he sees in Hollywood:

"Hollywood is still very racist. Hollywood is more racist than America is. They put things on TV that they think the masses will like. Well, the masses have changed. The election of President Obama should prove that. And television should look entirely different. Kerry Washington should not be the first African-American female to head up a drama series in 40 years. In 40 years! That's crazy."

The article went on to reveal exactly when Harvey's eyes were first opened to this, though it was pretty obvious to everyone else:

"... it was an education in the thinly veiled ghettoization of network television. At the time, he says, a high-ranking WB executive explained to him that new networks invest in shows starring African-Americans because they bring a guaranteed audience. "But as they build the network and get more eyeballs, they slowly start phasing them out," explains Harvey, and the networks try to woo higher-income brackets with a less diverse slate of programming that is perceived as more palatable to the mainstream."

I'm sorry, but like who didn't know that?

So do you agree with Harvey? Are you surprised or is he just stating obvious?

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39 Comments

  • Paul R | November 5, 2013 12:45 PMReply

    I agree with Steve . For example The Allstate insurance commercial.
    They have the spokesman for Allstate who is a black actors voice being
    used instead of the white actors voice s when they are speaking to another
    white actor about Allstate. Also the T.V. show and other ones like Modern Family.
    Which portrays the minorities like stereo types. Hmm.. Maybe it's the Hollywood
    writers?.

  • Maverick | October 29, 2013 6:01 PMReply

    This dude is TO MUCH! I am a fifty two year African American male and I have never seen anyone who has ALL the answers, TV is becoming a braining washing toll for a lot of mess. Let’s get these young boys to pull their pants up, and stop making babies. Hollywood is paying any of my bills. Steve by the way, when is Christ coming back so I can stop going to work! LOL!!!!

  • Gigi Young | March 20, 2013 4:13 AMReply

    Hollywood isn't more racist than America--it reflects and fluffs the fantasy of basic (white) American values. Go read up on the Hollywood moguls--mostly Jewish immigrants--and how they shaped Hollywood, and in turn shaped America, which in turn shaped Hollywood. Mayer, Goldwyn, et al maintained and valued the status quo because of their own insecurities over being outsiders. And since Hollywood as a whole is the machine of dreams for outsiders and misfits, it's a given that they would be eager to prop up the values and images they weren't able to have (beauty, passionate romance, vengeance, The Best at Everything, quirky but beloved, good families, etc). If you're some poor white trash who managed to luck out by being beautiful and talented, why wouldn't you blindly and unconsciously gulp down Hollywood's boosting you over POC when that was your rightful place? It's basically like the people who claim the Civil War wasn't fought for slavery, or that their poor white ancestors didn't own slaves--they fought to support an institution that gave them hope for social mobility and prosperity in owning slaves and land!

  • Luke Caldwell | March 16, 2013 10:47 PMReply

    Hollywood isn't so much more racist than America, it's run by people who feel so superior to the rest of the country, they believe they know better than America, what America will watch. They still maintain the belief that they must appeal to the Lowest Common Denominator, that Americans are too stupid, too unthinking, too unfeeling to accept a challenge for 2 hours at a time. The trouble is, once a person has made it up the hardest ladder in the world to the top of that carniverous food chain, they refuse to rock the boat in any manner. They play safe, they cast the same actors, they choose the same tired themes. If last Oscar season told us anything, it said that the American people, at least those represented by the technicians, the base level members of the Academy, are open to a challenge - why else did two small films, Argo and Silver Cloud Playbook win so well, and big films like Lincoln fare so badly except in the craft categories? America is a country of small stories that don't take Marquee names only to be told. Good storytelling takes risks and points the lens at everyman, and reminds the world that there are great stories right next door. Get over the idea that black stories won't appeal to white or brown people, that only a Cruise or a Pitt can play the hero. Drop all the budgets to manageable levels, remember that in camera effects are as good a way of telling stories (unless VFX are a key component) and go with your gut, not your metrics.

    Take risks, dare to be small and maybe Hollywood will continue to be relevant.

    However, unfortunately, I'm guaranteeing none of this will ever come to pass.

  • Nadia | March 16, 2013 2:16 PMReply

    Watch, next thing we'll hear is: Steve Harvey's show has been canceled due to "low ratings." Lol! He'd better keep his mouth shut and keep taking that money, because he's a part of the system he's criticizing. You kinda can't do both and continue to be successful.

  • michele | March 16, 2013 10:08 AMReply

    Does Steve Harvey understand that Hollywood IS America? But at least if a young black kid is running from a cop on a Hollywood lot and gets shot in the back it's fake.

    Shouldn't he be more upset that no Black person could create a successful role for a black woman in a drama in 40 years until Shonda came along? This whole why isn't Hollywood doing this or that argument is troubling and aggravating to me, especially when it comes from someone who's navigated it with success. It removes our own accountability in creating content and that's dangerous.
    So dangerous in fact, that a white man can create a movie like Django Unchained that makes bank overseas, (but blacks 'can't' open movies overseas????). And blacks flock to see it saying 'we've never seen ourselves like this before'. Sorry for the reference, I know the film has been discussed ad nauseam on S&A but I needed it for my point.

  • CareyCarey | March 16, 2013 12:55 PM

    "Does Steve Harvey understand that Hollywood IS America?"

    Thank you, I can exhale now. I was wondering if anyone was going to mention that misnomer. My analogy (below) might not have been clear. But to piggy-back off your (Hollywood is American) it's reminisent of someone allowing another person to fart in their face and then complain "DAMN MAN!..., that smells like sh*t."

    "This whole why isn't Hollywood doing this or that argument is troubling and aggravating to me"

    Again we're making internet love. "Troubling" and "aggravating" are mild forms of verbs I would use. But I don't know who mystifies me the most, Steve Harvey, those who find nothing wrong with what falls out of his escape hatch mouth, or Sergio.

    I mean, I could blame Sergio for bringing up this mess. But, this is what he do, so I can't hate, can I? Granted, I've admitted to loving -- a little -- controversy, but it's sinful how Sergio baits his hook. Look at the following titles (Sergio's posts) and then y'all speak the truth and shame the devil:

    Should Black Celebrities Boycott "Celebrity Apprentice"?

    The Battle of The Century (Tyler Perry vs Spike Lee)

    Soledad O'Brien ain't black, is she?

    Viola Davis' Controversial Serial Killer Roles (Worse Than "The Help"?)

    Who's Black And Who Ain't?

    How Come A Brother Always Has To Mess Things Up?

    WHAAAAAAT? Tyler is NOT going to be NO. 1?

    Terrence Howard Cuts The Throat Of a Businessman.

    What Defines A Black Actor.

    Quentin Tarantino, My Distant Lover.

    And... It's Not Easy Being a Slave But Some Black Folk Love Getting Paid For Being One (and pimpin' ain't easy either)

    I know, Sergio gets a kick out of pumping up the natives. He loves using those incendiary words. But you know what really pisses me off? By reading those titles, it's obvious that a storm is living inside those posts. But noooooooo, my dumb ass will always click on, to look in, to see what I may be missing. STUCK! Hooked like a near-sighted catfish at the end of a hillbillie's bamboo fishing pole.

    So, I guess I don't know who to blame? I could point fingers at Steve Harvey, S & A's more gullible and inquisitive visitors, Hollywood, Sergio or my silly behind?

  • CareyCarey | March 16, 2013 5:26 AMReply

    Steve Harvey?! PLLLEEEEASE.... when I look at him I see the reincarnation of Foghorn Leghorn... "I say, I say, I say, that boy is lower than a snake full of buckshot."

    Come on now, y'all know it... he's a concoction of a Pied Pipper, jail house lawyer and a pulpit pimp. Come on now, yawl know I'm telling the truth. I mean, it's a fact (I can't take that from him) that the man has been busier that a centipede at a toe counting contest, but Kingfish ain't got nothing on him.

    I swear ol' Stevie, aka, Kingfish talks to us like we're his special kind of Andy. I mean, seriously... think about it, Hollywood is more racist than America? WHAT!? That's the kind of mush-mouth mess we hear in barber shops... "Y'all know Pookie is smarter than his brother Dookie"... "Yes sir, that boy is as sharp as a bowling bowl and twice as black."

    WHAT!? Who-what-when and how?... splain that one mo again? Look, comparing Hollywood to America is akin to juxtaposing the naked backsides of klan members with the imagery of some republicans. Besides, yelling at a purse snatcher... "STOP THIEF" does not make him run stop. He turns his head, drops down in a crouched position and burns rubber.

    Anyway, the next time Negro Confucius opens his super-sized mouth, I'd advise everyone to exit stage left. Because, when it's all said and done, that boy has been known to talk geechie... and pimp and pander and... you know.

  • Agent K | March 21, 2013 11:09 AM

    @CareyCarey
    The reincarnation of Foghorn Leghorn...goddamn lol. You are crazy man.

  • CareyCarey | March 16, 2013 2:27 PM

    " Lawd where do you come up with this stuff?... I'm still laughing..."

    Well Blutopaz, to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, I have to borrow a line from my favorite idol, Sergio Mims... "I read a lot of stuff and I know a lot of stuff"

    And, to expound on that point, to be brutally honest, like every writer/comic/novelist, I coughstealcough... borrow a little of this and that (ideals, conceptions and such) from other sources, and then, add my little twist-vernacular-verbiage to it. You know, since I've been around a few years, and have experienced many of life's ups and downs, all that mess is stored -- unfortunately -- in my memory banks. So when they're stirred, not shaken (opps, there I go again) they find their way to paper.

  • BluTopaz | March 16, 2013 12:35 PM

    Stop--I'm still laughing @ "been busier that a centipede at a toe counting contest,". Lawd where do you come up with this stuff.

  • CareyCarey | March 16, 2013 11:46 AM

    Come to think about it... I say, I say, I say ol' Blutopaz, that boy makes more noise and less sense than a couple of skeletons throwin' a fit on a tin roof, but some women do adore him. Hmmmm..... I never understood why? Well, Foghorn is a rooster so there's something to be said by comparing him to Mr. Filibusterous, the man with the peacock clothes. You know, some women love a finely dressed educated man who will lie to them softly, esp in a Southern "good ol' boy" speaking style. Or... maybe it's the shoes, huh?

  • BluTopaz | March 16, 2013 10:25 AM

    lmao--naw CC, not Foghorn Leghorn. You know there are a ton of insecure women who would be upset with you for making these remarks.

    I have heard Mr. Potato Head, I mean Harvey, tell a woman caller on his radio show that her man was going to leave her because her hair was natural. And I've heard him spew other assorted nonsense. So yeah, he can keep his negritude to himself along with those damn crayola crayon suits and Stacey Adams shoes.

  • michele | March 16, 2013 10:20 AM

    Lol - hilarious and on point

  • same as the 1950's | March 16, 2013 3:28 AMReply

    ouch. it hurts. i just want to work. there's no parts right now, or very few :-( but i dont think its about light and dark. i'm light. i have trouble because people can see the black but aren't sure what i am so they are not sure how to categorize. my very white friends and my very black friends do better. okay. done whining. back to creating. (also, anybody notice way less black faces in fiction after obama got elected?)

  • same as the 1950's | March 16, 2013 3:35 AM

    and also, proving the point, imdb; there are not many black men and women in the better 'star meter' rankings. popularity is based on the popularity of a personality but also the number of bigger b.o. projects an actor is in. someone should do research on it and report the findings. im sure the results would be ugly.

  • Donella | March 15, 2013 6:12 PMReply

    Steve Harvey is stating what's obvious to US. Mainstream is still in denial about who they really are. This message is for THEM.

  • Miles Ellison | March 15, 2013 9:49 PM

    He's stating what should be obvious to anyone. "The Mainstream" isn't in denial. They know exactly what they're doing and who they are.

  • Ed Silvera | March 15, 2013 4:04 PMReply

    No, everyone does not know this. And if they do there is no harm in reminding them..."we will never forget". Sliding this to the back of your mental file cabinet can lead to complacency. And therein lay a devils playground. I believe there are a lot of black tv personalities that would be afraid to speak so blatantly. Hats off to Steve. He can because he got clout...and he wears it well. BTW: Love me some Shadow Act...keep up the good work....non-homogenized information is vital to the struggle. Peace...

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 3:53 PMReply

    It would have been more impressive if Harvey had harped on how intra-racist and colorist (color struck) Hollywood is, in terms of minority races, especially people of African descent.

  • Stephanie | May 17, 2013 4:32 AM

    I've just got to point out that whites also helped free slaves. Also a lot of white people contain Indian blood. Everyones ancestors got crapped on at some point. All of the arguments are getting really rather old. Considering all of the people the had a hand in any of those actions are long gone.... It's time we all just move on. The world is really trying, but everyone keeping slinging mud in each other's faces blaming them for things that they are/were not responsible for.

  • Carl | March 15, 2013 5:47 PM

    And of course you can read minds because you are the CEO of the "Blacker Than Thou" group. You know what all light skinned black folk are thinking because of your black mind reading radar. Lol Get therapy.

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 5:38 PM

    And many are black 'when convenient' which doesn't help the 'we' you are referring to.

    Cry baby?

    Hah, if you can really believe in the fake put on called 'black unity', we were never unified. People only put up the front of unity to achieve a collective goal that feel to the collective wayside.

    Black when convenient.

  • Carl | March 15, 2013 4:28 PM

    Really get a shrink and tell him your story. We are all black and only mush mouth crybaby folk like you choose to divide while trying to perpetrate black unity. You're full of shit.

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 4:09 PM

    "Stop Whining"

    That's what they told Malcolm X (he was light skinned, by the way) and and Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 4:07 PM

    Ah, and local responds.

    Well, a white man did beat and enslave my ancestors.

    Everyone other commenter 'whining' as so conveniently you define it.

    You seek therapy.

  • Carl | March 15, 2013 4:02 PM

    Did a light skinned person beat your ass constantly in school? Did he screw your mother and left you an orphan or something? Seek therapy and stop whining!

  • getthesenets | March 15, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    i sense anger towards harvey for stating his opinion

    title says " he claims" rather than just he says

    people questioning why he's saying this now?

    bringing up the skin complexion of his current BLACK wife?

    let Steve Harvey live or at least read the entire article..


    several entertainers and artists have said the exact same thing..and I think it is true...

  • getthesenets | March 15, 2013 5:45 PM

    @Anon

    please clarify. are you being sarcastic or serious.I can never tell on this site.

    did you actually indirectly compare steve harvey to skinheads/neo nazis?

    so stating that hollywood is racist, as a SELF made successful entertainer who has been on the grind for over 20 years, is now akin to being a white supremacist?

    I said let him live because he is not offending anybody and just stating his personal expereinces as an entertainment industry veteran.....LET him live.

    your personal opinion about his personal life/choices are valid....just not in this discussion

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 3:47 PM

    Yes,

    We should just let everyone live, white supremacists, their puppets and everyone who actively and passively perpetuates white hegemony.

    Let's just let them all live while less diluted minorities remain marginalized, and are push to white-wash themselves.

    That's a great, freakin', idea.

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 3:44 PM

    Think, blood quantum, mixed race (white ancestry) and diluted, more socially acceptable, traits in white mainstream society.

    Think aesthetic totem pole, where the darkest, broadest, kinkiest features are at the bottom, and how this has historically, and currently, correlated with social justice and upward mobility.

    And if his wife looked like Soledad O'Brien, or Halle Berry, I'd bring it up, as well.

  • VC | March 15, 2013 3:18 PMReply

    Question is what to do about it.

  • Anon | March 15, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    OK, Mr. "I traded my dark skinned wife in for a light skinned one."

    mmm hmmm

    And Hollywood just loves your ass.

    He's not just talking about the white people of Hollywood, but everyone one else, too.

    "run-from-negro" asses.

    LA country where Latinos are running blacks out of their neighborhoods, targeting to kill blacks, and where the majority of blacks date/procreate lighter or whiter.

  • Evelyn | March 15, 2013 3:05 PMReply

    This has been obvious in every entertainment medium, including music, television, movies, broadway and anything else that makes money. I have always known this.

  • blaqbird | March 15, 2013 3:04 PMReply

    Yep just like "Martin", "Living Single", "NY Undercover" on the very young Fox. Those shows, along with The Simpsons and Married With Children", pretty much built that network.

  • BlackCanseco | March 15, 2013 2:59 PMReply

    Methinks Steve Harvey is feelin himself now. He's got a couple hit books a movie and sequel in the works... a lil bit of cake in his pockets... Now he thinks he can say what he really thinks.

    Spike said this sorta thing for 25 years. others have, too. They've largely been right. But folk like Harvey stay quiet till they come up then wait till it's safe to speak out.

    No point to it, really. The worse part is BET largely works the same way. when BET started its programming was a way better representation of a range of Black tastes than now. In the last say 15 years, BET chased "youth markets" (more white cable subscribers/MTV kids, etc)...

    Bob Johnson, back when he still owned BET said his goal was for BET to be a premier "youth channel" not just a "Black Channel."

    So yeah... that's how Hollywood works.

    This issue now is What will folk like Harvey do to counter this? For as much siht as we give Spike, as much as he complained, he tried to make a range of movies, hire a buncha talented Blackfolk... Sure everything he's done hasn't been great (or in some cases, not even very good) but he tried to walk the walk.

    If all Harvey does is make safe fare and go on occassional rants--which no doubt he'll backtrack from when the "right folk" get wind of this--then what's the point?

  • urbanauteur | March 15, 2013 3:42 PM

    Steve Harvey conveniently rant just like most of those "opportunists" with 3 piece chicken suits and explosive attache cases.

  • August Wasoba | March 15, 2013 2:55 PMReply

    Actually, i didnt know that. I had no idea that the studios did it so calculated. Now that I know this, it explains "In living Color" on a young fox network and "Wayans Bros.", "Steve Harvey Show", and "Parenthood" on a young WB. Speak for yourself, not everyone knows this kind of stuff.

  • Ghost | March 15, 2013 5:28 PM

    You might not have noticed as many of those black shows had large white fanbases-(college students & white kids). I know tons of white kids that stopped whatever they were doing to watch Sister, Sister, Family Matters, Roc, In Living Color & Martin.

    The same case with Nickelodeon's Snick line up-3 shows with black male leads-Cousin Skeeter, Kenan & Kel & Allen Strange . Throw in Romeo & Just Jordan-no other network had 5 show with black male leads only.

    Heck Oprah is doing it now with Tyler Perry. Just like TBS did with him earlier. The moment TBS got his shows-they started axing white shows left and right including ones that won emmys.

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