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Why Viola Davis Says Black Actresses Are In Crisis Mode + Actresses On Light Vs. Dark Debate

by Courtney
June 20, 2013 4:46 PM
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OWN Black Actresses

2 more short teases from OWN network's broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's hour-long in-depth conversation with 4 black actresses as they each open up about the challenges, criticism and competition they face as black actresses today: Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union

The episode of Oprah's Next Chapter, will air this Sunday, 9pm, and will be immediately followed by Dark Girls.

Yesterday Tambay posed a survey question: What do you hope is covered during the hour-long conversation? What would you like to see Oprah and the 4 actresses discuss, even though the episode has already been shot?

In addition to competition amongst black actresses, which Alfre Woodard talked about in yesterday's clip, in the 2 new teases below, Viola talks black actresses being in crisis mode, and the 4 actresses tackle the light vs dark skin debate, within the industry as well as in the black community - two other topics that some of you might hope are discussed on the show. 

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  • Anna | July 13, 2013 12:17 PMReply

    This was an interesting show to watch, a big fan of all these ladies, and it was an intelligent, insightful, and thought-provoking conversation about the limitations on roles and opportunites for African American actresses. Thank you Oprah:)

  • ChgoSista | June 24, 2013 1:18 PMReply

    All the ladies featured last night were in a Tyler Perry film. :-D

  • CC | June 24, 2013 2:52 PM

    Most black actresses with any weight were in a Tyler Perry film. So what are YOU saying... or more importantly, what are YOU missing?

    Geeezzzzz... Thandie Newton, Gabrielle Union, Viola Davis, Robin Givens, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Nonin Rose, Kimberly Elisa, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Taraji P. Henson, Jurnee Smollett, Vanessa Williams, Alfre Woodard, Cicely Tyson, Sanaa Lathan and Angela Bassett were ALL in a Tyler Perry film, so close your mouth. :-)

  • Daryl | June 24, 2013 8:27 AMReply

    I agree with Viola Davis points but this conversation is outdated because we have the tools and ability to create and distribute our own films now, telling the stories and getting a chance to play a variety of roles that we always wanted to have a chance to play and see. All these ladies talking at this roundtable are millionaires with one being a billionaire, so instead of talking about it how about getting together and making it happen instead of waiting on hollywood to do the right thing. A lot of these rich black celebs are scared to invest in themselves, it's like they need white folks to hold their hand for them to believe they can do it and achieve things. The good news is the up and coming indie filmmakers and actors are not buying into this nonsense of waiting on hollywood and they are doing for self and making it happen. So just let these rich black celebs complain and we will be the ones that are getting things done telling a variety of stories and giving black actors and actresses opportunities to play different roles and have a lot to choose from.

  • sakul | June 23, 2013 8:03 PMReply

    I personally think that Viola Davis is insanely talented, a brilliant actress, and should have won the Oscar for "The Help" hands down.

    But I sometimes feel -- and this is probably out of place and may be not appropriate for me to say as white male -- that some of the things she is always, continuously, repetitively complaining about are some kind of self-fulfilling prophecies. And this is not to say that I do not acknowledge the huge difficulty for black actresses that still exists, and I can absolutely understand her frustration, as with her talent, she should get far more accolades and juicy roles and projects .

    BUT I sometimes wish she would send out a more positive message and acknowledge how much has changed in the last 50 years, even if there is a great deal that still needs to change.

    In this new millennium, the first black actress has won an Oscar as best leading actress (Halle Berry), and three more black actresses (Davis, Gabourey Sidibe, Quvenzhané Wallis) were nominated in that category. That's four nominees in 11 years compared to six nominees in the previous 70 years of Academy Award history.
    Moreover, since 2000, eight black actresses have been nominated in the supporting actress category -- compared to nine nominees since Hattie McDaniel in 1939! And there are THREE winners in those twelve years (Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique, Octavia Spencer) compared to only two winners in the 70 years before that.

    I mean, things are changing (far too) slowly, but they ARE changing, and I wish Viola Davis, a two-time Academy Award-nominee (the only black actress to have two nominations with Whoopie Goldberg), two-time-Tony winning, incredibly talented actress, who was the lead in the giant box office hit "The Help" and has the female lead in Michael Mann's next big-budged action thriller, "Cyber", would not victimize herself so much but be proud of her incredible, and well-deserved, success.

    I think it's great that she herself is pushing a biopic about Barbara Jordan, where she'll play the lead, and I hope that the film version of "Fences" with Denzel Washington is going to happen.

  • Formerly From Tokyo | February 20, 2014 12:33 PM

    Halle Berry was not the first black actress to win an Oscar; for Best Actress, yes, but Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress or actor to win one, for Gone With the Wind.

  • . | June 24, 2013 12:51 PM


  • Miles Ellison | June 23, 2013 11:50 PM

    You must be right-handed, because your left-handed compliment is awkward.

  • mawon | June 23, 2013 10:45 PM

    LOL @CC. I know, right? Like Davis she modify her speech to make white folk feel better about themselves. Go play somewhere else with that mess.

  • Yup | June 23, 2013 9:55 PM

    "So thanks for stopping by to reinforce what we already know about some white folks. You know, some white folks believe they can say a few nice things about a few black people... "I personally think that Viola Davis is insanely talented, a brilliant actress, and should have won the Oscar for "The Help" hands down"... luring them to sleep long enough to hit'em upside the head with the big bamboozle stick. But Mr Sakul, the next time you think about dropping your magic up in this house, I'd suggest you better ask somebody, first."

    And a very big bamboozle stick at that CC. It's so true I had to chuckle. Shame.

  • CC | June 23, 2013 9:17 PM

    "and this is probably out of place and may be not appropriate for me to say as white male" ~ The White Guy - SAKUL

    But you said it anyway. AND, it's probably the most poignant piece of a white person's perspective that you dropped on us. So lets take a look at a white person dropping crumbs from the table, expecting black people to sing satisfied.

    "I mean, things are changing (far too) slowly, but they ARE changing"

    Oh my, the words "far too slowly" were whispered, yet the words "BUT THEY ARE changing" was given the loudest emphasis. So in essence you're telling the black actors and blacks in general to "hush, be quiet, one day y'all move up from the children's table, but right now be thankful for what we've so kindly given you". Surely Mr. SAKUL, surely you can see how your words are very condescending?

    But maybe you can't feel our pain 'cause as you've admitted, you're a white guy. So maybe you had no way of knowing that the roles (Oscar nominees and winners) you highlighted have a certain ring about them that many people of color could do without.

    So thanks for stopping by to reinforce what we already know about some white folks. You know, some white folks believe they can say a few nice things about a few black people... "I personally think that Viola Davis is insanely talented, a brilliant actress, and should have won the Oscar for "The Help" hands down"... luring them to sleep long enough to hit'em upside the head with the big bamboozle stick. But Mr Sakul, the next time you think about dropping your magic up in this house, I'd suggest you better ask somebody, first.

  • Orville | June 23, 2013 6:51 PMReply

    Viola Davis probably the most honest black actress I have ever seen interviewed about this subject. When I hear Halle Berry complain on Actor's Studio about her problems with Hollywood it is nowhere close to Viola's struggle.

    Halle Berry has multi million dollar endorsement deal with Revlon, she ALWAYS gets the best scripts compared to other black women.
    Berry gets to headline films and Viola does not and most of it has to do with the fact Viola is a dark skinned black woman. Even though Viola Davis and Angela Bassett can act circles around Halle Berry she has the Eurocentric appearance which Hollywood prefers.
    Viola Davis has started her own production company so for the people saying she's just bitching and complaining they are WRONG. Davis is just frustrated and I can tell and it is disappointing this talented lady doesn't get a shot at headlining a Hollywood film on her OWN.
    Hollywood doesn't even give Viola a chance and that's the saddest part.

    It seems to me Hollywood is waiting for the next mixed race, half white actress to give her a shot at being a leading lady. Wake up Hollywood, give Viola Davis a chance to headline a movie on her OWN this lady can act!

  • Enlightened | June 23, 2013 3:48 PMReply

    Many on this thread have shared their disappointment about Viola's comment regarding how "rats" scrambling for a "piece of cheese" is a reflection of how "natural" dissension and competition is with Black Actresses in times of crisis. People on this thread took offense to that, but just LOOK at the dissension, opposition, criticism, name calling, degradation, and MORE in this very feed! The tag line of this blog is "Black People Supporting Black Projects", but just LOOK at our REAL reactions!! A house divided against itself can't stand, but their is enormous power in unity and love.

    Let's LOVE one another.

  • August Wasoba | June 24, 2013 2:23 AM

    yeah, you have a point there

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 4:30 PM

    I could NOT have said it better ENLIGHTENED...and here in lies our problem...It's quite sad.

  • Mark and Darla | June 23, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    What is there to lose for a black actress to read a screenplay from a nobody, maybe something maybe nothing.

    To black actresses, when the nobody approaches you with a screenplay, say thank you and give the nobody a due date 'if you don't hear from me in six month that mean I am not interest' and move on.

    To the nobody screenwriter if you don't hear from the parties in six month move on.

    My sentiment to black actresses, think outside the box when it comes to searching for meaty roles.

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 4:32 PM

    Amen! That's what I had the audacity to suggest and people tried to tear me down for having to gull to insinuate that there are talented writers OUTSIDE of the Hollywood machine.

  • Orville | June 23, 2013 2:04 PMReply

    Oprah's comment is interesting, I don't think colorlism came from black people there is a legacy of this from the days of slavery.
    Why isn't Gabrielle Union A list? Gabrielle is gorgeous, she's one of the hottest women in Hollywood and she's a very talented actress. Gabrielle has expanded beyond the black romantic comedy genre. She's done controversial films such as falling in love with a skin head in Neo Ned, she's done indie films such as In Our Nature. Yet, Gabrielle still has not had a breakthrough role despite being in the film business since the late 1990s. Why is that?

    However, I do believe now that black people can be more proactive to at least make some kind of change. Alfre's comment is cogent Hollywood as everyone knows prefers black women that are mixed race, closer to the white image. The few black actresses who are getting the big film roles are mixed, Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, Paula Patton, Beyonce ect. Viola's biggest role to date is playing a MAID. Also, to the people calling Viola uppity just because the lady is college educated and a refined black woman doesn't make her uppity she's just smart.

  • Clayton Broomes Jr | June 22, 2013 10:04 PMReply

    Here we go with the same conversation. Never any practical, out-of-the-box, unconventional, politically incorrect solutions. Just the same woe-is-me rubbish that doesn't amount to anything, only to be replicated in another 10 years with a new generation of black actors, and the 10 years after that.

    I find it interesting that these women truly feel there are not any projects out there for them. The projects are out there. These actors are just suffering from the perception of their own self-importance and reducing themselves to be helplessly at the mercy of decisions made for them by their representation, which contributes to the notion that they are something special.

    They can take a few notes from Hallie Berry's book. She has found projects and produced for either herself or other black actress, like S. Epatha Merkerson in "Lackawanna Blues". She has and continues to make things happen, only slowing down because of motherhood, and actors like Forest Whitaker and Octavia Spencer seem to be following in her footsteps.

    In fact, I have a leading role for Phylicia Rashad in a feature film. True story. It's a role that is perfect for her. Now, I wasn't trying to just drop some script in her lap. I started writing it as a short in 2006 and developed it into a feature shortly after, while working on other projects, like my first feature film -- the award winning Pro-Black Sheep. I've been working out the project for Rashad since. The script was mentored by the same people who serve as mentors at the Sundance screenwriting Lab. I approached Rashad's manager and they shut me down at "Hello". If an offer isn't in your first sentence with them, they do not want to hear anything from you. I pleaded with this woman, telling her that Rashad is perfect for this film, and suddenly I started sounding like everyone else who call them saying the same thing.

    These reps know if actors attach themselves to the project that it only helps with increasing awareness for the film and finding financing. But they don't give a shit. They want their cut upfront.

    Then a big-time casting director in Hollywood responded to my project and she risked her name by putting the script in the hands of Rashad's L.A. agent. They liked the script, and really spoke fondly of its ending, but they also wanted an offer before taking it to Rashad. Shortly after that, it was optioned by Forest Whitaker's company and I spent 6 months revising it with one of their best, most knowledgeable Development Executives. The script went through the ringer, and I'm still working on it after getting some minor notes from the people at Blacklist that can only make it better.

    My point is quality roles are out there for Phylicia Rashad and all of these actresses. But maybe their not putting themselves in positions that can allow these roles to find them. They're sitting back, letting their reps handle everything. Meanwhile, these scripts with quality roles for black actresses are either languishing in "turnaround limbo" or on the shelf collecting dust. These people need to get on facebook or Twitter or something, make themselves more accessible. They'll be confronted by a few people playing games but at least they'll have an opportunity to see what's out there and help bring projects they like from script to screen. They can also take a few notes from Angelina Jolie who doesn't even have an agent. She gets it. Our lovely black actresses don't. Sure, you have to reach Jolie's level of success to make such calls I suppose but they have to find a way to work around them. Sorry. I said it. It may be the "politically incorrect" thing to say but it's a practical solution that can lead into the right direction.

    I'm glad to know that their reps are blocking their success. I'd hate to think it's just plain'ole laziness.

  • mawon | June 23, 2013 10:40 PM

    LOL, where did you read that I said you suck as a filmmaker? I don't even know you, dude. I would expect better form the person who's been questioning other's intelligence and reading comprehension this whole convo.

    And what makes you think black actresses aren't hustling like white actresses beyond your sad story? You don't know what they do. Like how dare you ignore all the blatant prejudice and disparity in Hollywood and blame it all on "they're not working hard enough." I'm tired of all this shookin and jivin mess these days. Antoine Fuqua, Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby kool-aid sippin negroes. These women know what they've faced. They know how it is. You ain't qualified to tell em it's something different.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 5:11 PM

    @ Steve M... how many black filmmakers you know were optioned by an Oscar winning player and his Hollywood production company? Are you a writer/director? Have you ever been optioned? You think serious players in Hollywood are going around optioning any ole script? You know what, I'm done with you. You're a waste of my time.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 5:02 PM

    @ mawon... You were clear in your last comment, and I'm here to tell you you're wrong. Why do you think Franklin Leonard was able to capitalize with the Blacklist? Each year, the list displays hundreds of quality, un-produced scripts, some by black writers about black people and those are just the scripts written by writers with agent/manager representation. Imagine the many without reps. Don't believe what you see, what you read sometimes, the hype being fed to the public in the panel discussion. Your eyes deceive you. I know for sure there are plenty of quality roles out there waiting for these actresses to bring them to life.

    And you're right. Most filmmakers suck, but I'm not one of them. I know it's my biased point of view and all that, and I know Nadia is going to beat me up for saying it, but I truly believe in my abilities and I say this without any hesitation, without any doubts. Maybe I am deluded. But it's usually the deluded ones who do something that has never been done before. Better than sitting around feeling helpless. The Wright brothers were deluded in believing people can fly. But you can check out my films for yourself. My feature film Pro-Black Sheep, made for 18K on SD in New York City, can be watched on for just a few dollars. If you watch the film and believe I suck then I have to accept it. I won't believe it, but I'll accept your opinion for what it is -- your opinion. On YouTube, you can even find my 23 minute short film Alone, which was a risky attempt at telling a story without dialogue back in 2005, also shot on SD for like $300. But you shouldn't assume I suck as a filmmaker and I'm just dropping some script with a weak role in Rashad's lap. You're not being very fair to me, my sister. And is that because you never heard of me?

    And I'm sorry, their white counterparts don't have it much easier themselves. Women of all races don't have the same opportunities men have in any industry. That's a fact. But in film, white actresses continue to win because they think outside the box. They're being a little politically incorrect in the way they do things. You say these actresses shouldn't have to take a pay-cut, and to me, that's neither here nor there. But established actresses like Michelle Williams, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Portman do it all the time. I know of times their white counterparts worked for scale in low budget films, which was the case for Michelle Williams in Wendy and Lucy and Blue Valentine, which she was nominated for her second Oscar. That's just the way it is.

    If I were some big time actress and I was passionate about my craft, and a quality script with a strong role came my way that was paying a fraction of what I ask, and I'm not really working as I should, I would totally do it. But that's just me. Oh wait, then again, it's not just me...

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 4:37 PM

    What I'd like to know is WHY all you people's sole focus is on tearing down Mr. Broomes' work. I'd really like to know that. What does that say about you? We opened this conversation as a discussion. Clayton shared his personal opinion and experience. How does that reflect on his ability as a screenwriter/filmmaker or lack thereof? Seriously...I don't get it. If you don't agree with his perspective, cool. But leave it at that. The personal attacks are really unnecessary especially since none of you have read his work.

    All we do is tear each other down and we wonder why we never progress...smh!

  • CC | June 23, 2013 4:32 PM

    "Nope fellas, I am not getting any deeper in this discussion. There's too much on the floor" ~ CareyCarey

    My my my and well well well, look where we've arrived. Now how did I know we'd come to a place where tempers would fly and name calling would rule the day? Oh wait, this is S&A; a place where black folks come to voice their opinions on everything related to the film business, so it's only natural that Ying would disagree with Yang, leading somebody to call the other a knuckle-dragging bitch. We all know black folks love a good heated exchange, so of course someone would reply with "you sound like a complete idiot".

    OH LORD, and then the hecklers always show up to throw a little salt in the wounds... "I always took you to be a wannabe know-it-all, industry insider, but not a bitter ass hater who just might be writing this crap from your mother's basement"

    But you know what, that's what black folks do. I mean that in a good way. We don't mind checking those who might need a little schooling. And sometimes it's not done in the most politically correct way, but it's all good in the neighbor. Sometimes we don't move or change our way of thinking until our backs are against the wall, or controversy becomes hot and heavy.

    Hey, having said all of that, who's watching Oprah's hour long interview of Kerry Washington? It's presently showing (3PM - 4PM) on OWN's "Oprah's Next Chapter".

  • Steve M. | June 23, 2013 4:27 PM

    Clayton, getting a script optioned doesn't mean anything. Thousands get optioned every year. If it meant something you wouldn't be on this blog crying like a bitch about how DARE these actresses not bow at your feet. Trying so hard to prove yourself. Try again. lol

  • mawon | June 23, 2013 4:09 PM

    @Clayton I guess I wasn't clear in my last comment, but when I said I never believed that legend about great work collecting dust because big bad Hollywood won't give it a chance, I meant that with all my heart, I do not think there are as many quality roles out there as you've deluded yourself into believing. Most filmmakers suck. That's why the good ones get paid the big bucks. If your only example of a "quality role" that Rashad's small-minded mistakenly turned down is your own work, then excuse me if I'm not exactly enlightened by your obviously biased example.

    And the point of Davis' comment was not that these women who have accomplished more than most in their lives are in dire straights. Obviously they're all still working, and are pro-active in their careers. The point is their white counterparts have it easier than them. Because it is a cold, hard fact that there are more opportunities for white actors than black. You don't need "insider" insight to know that. And acknowledging it is not whining. I agree with Nadia, that's disrespectful, brother.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 3:57 PM

    Starting from the bottom of this barrel of crabs:

    @ Steve M... Someone already grabbed my script. It was optioned. I received a pay day for it. On paper, I don't even qualify for most scriptwriting contest because of this. So, it's clear that you don't read. Don't worry. If an 80-something year old man in South Africa can go back to first grade, maybe you can too?

    @ um no... Um, yes. I'm just calling it as I see it. Nadia's assumptions make her sound moronic and idiotic. And you people fling that "bitter" word around like a caged Chimps flinging their own dung. Go back and assess. Come back with more accurate complaints about what I said initially. Again, I'm doing just fine.

    @ Donella... You're absolutely right. Good for him. I'm taking notes, please believe.

    @ nadia... You again. LOL! Am I really the one whining? I bring up one fact based story of the many experiences I have producing independently and suddenly I'm whining. It's these actresses who are whining and shedding light on the real problem. Did it occur to you that I only brought it up because the very actress I'm talking about is in this video? Your point can stand. It doesn't reflect me in any way. It bounces off of me. It has nothing to do with me.

    And to respond, you also are in no position to claim anything about me, my personality, my highs, my lows or whatever in this industry. I'm making things happen regardless of who jump on my projects or not. I'm not here to kiss ass all the way to the top. If I am, I started a little late for that when I had all the opportunity in the world to kiss ass when I was ushered into this industry as a kid, interning for Hype Williams at his Big Dog Films office back in 98' and dealing projects that averaged a mil, working with all sorts of celebrities.

    And I have made facts. My story is a fact. It's more of a fact than anything you wrote. So, how you like me now?

    And are you even listening? I already moved on to complete another project with the project I had for Rashad waiting in the wings. Do you people read, for real? And I have other projects on the way. So, you get over yourself...

  • Yup | June 23, 2013 3:54 PM

    @Um No, I'm not angry at all but you are clearly guilty of my oberservation and seem to be taking pleasure in trying to rip Clayton apart. Instead of discussing the points that he offers, the focus is on the fact that HE offers them. And again, for what? This is indeed a bitter hole, and your laughter shows that you are quite comfortable and happy dwelling in it. Peace onto you and anyone else who surfs these articles looking to drag people down?

  • nadia | June 23, 2013 3:15 PM

    @Clayton lol. Your last nonsensical rant in response to my comment proves my point head-on. You're a bitter, frustrated filmmaker. A child whining because he didn't get what he wanted. Wah wah. Man up and stop being such a knuckle-dragging bitch.

    My point stands and is clear enough for any moron to understand. You are in no position to make any claims whatsoever about what any of these actresses is doing or not doing because you don't know shit about what they're doing. I laid out how Viola Davis has been visibly proactive with her career. The facts are public Information. You made claims about Halle Berry and I challenged them and your response is to name call instead of sticking to facts. You know what facts are right? Not presumptions which are what you've made. Facts.

    Instead of whining about the actress who doesn't want to be in your film, find another one. It's a tough business son. Nobody has to do anything because you feel they should. Get over your fucking self.

  • Donella | June 23, 2013 3:06 PM

    Michael Jai White is another who doesn't wait for calls. He creates projects and jobs for himself and others.

  • Um No | June 23, 2013 3:02 PM

    @YUP We are calling out what you just typed..."blog is quickly becoming the dumping hole for bitter filmmakers" If that angers YOU, then you are guilty. lol

  • Yup | June 23, 2013 2:40 PM

    Are y'all upset at what Clayton said or are y'all angry cause y'all are not in a position to write what he initially wrote from HIS experience? For real. This blog is quickly becoming the dumping hole for bitter filmmakers tearing each other down for the sake of what?

  • Um No | June 23, 2013 2:27 PM

    I love how Clayton tries to sound intelligent in his bitterness but then resorts to name calling just like all the other "who the hell are you again" filmmakers who get mad when no one kisses their ass and commenters DARE challenge him. No one is obligated to take your script. Are you that narcissistic? Looks like it. lol Your cover is blown bruh. You mad now? lol

  • Steve M. | June 23, 2013 2:18 PM

    @NADIA...I agree with you. This dude sounds like another frustrated hack who is pissed that no one is grabbing his script. We all can see through it.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 12:28 PM

    @ mawon... You know how limited your thinking must be if you seriously believe good material, whether sitting on desks or in turnaround, are not good enough for these supposed top tier actors? You sound crazy. You don't have a clue. And where's the logic in "if it's a great script, there are plenty of ways to get it done without having stars attached"? What's that got to do with the discussion at hand? It is star actors in Oprah's panel discussion here, talking about the lack of roles for them, not talented unknowns or up-and-comers. My comments are directed at these stars, the top tiers as you call them, and their whining and complaining. The work is out there. If they want to wait for their agents to orchestrate things for them, then that's entirely on them. The agents scope is just as limited as yours. So, no one can complain that quality work isn't out there for black actresses. That's the whole point of my initial comment. You don't have to believe it. Until you have seen my work, read my scripts then you really don't have much to say, at least not about me. I put myself out there with the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God... without fear. Show a little respect, sister.

    @ nadia... Unlike mawon, who articulates her skepticism without any real malice in my eyes, you, on the other hand, just sound like a complete idiot. You may not be, but the way you're coming off here against what I'm saying, yeah... The verdict is still out that one.

    In my case, how can judgement be passed on my material if no one would read it? Rashad didn't read it, her manager didn't read it. So, how is this about my script not being good? Oh wait, did you read it? (no) Do you actually see how stupid it is to say such a thing? And you can look like a moron quoting my "big time" whatever. I just don't want to drop too many names unnecessarily. I dropped way too many as it is, just to make a point that easily gets scrutinized my mindless people. If you knew who I was talking about, you would go sit somewhere and staple your own lips together, without the booze or anesthesia. And do you really want to assess my statement as me using this "big time" casting director "as a way to back up the strength of" my work? You really want to sound like an illiterate ignoramus by saying this? I only brought up this "big time" person because she played a major role in the story I was trying to tell regarding my experience with some of the very actors in this discussion. The big time whatever got at least one person in Rashad's camp to read it, her new agent, who responded positively saying the role would be great for his client. But do you even have a clue as to how agents work in Hollywood? If you did, you wouldn't assume my material isn't very good because they won't pass it on to their client. Where are you people getting your information from, really?

    And my point about Halle Berry, was there anything in my initial comment about her being in good roles or the last decent film she was in? Or, was I talking specifically about her being proactive with her career and the career of her colleagues, and taking risks? What's so ridiculous about that? I don't know what Halle Berry did to you black people but get over it. It's only an Oscar.

    You say I don't have any idea what these actresses are doing, which is probably the truest, logical thing you said. I don't, actually. But, if you're going to judge my work from results, seeing that the project I'm referring to didn't get made yet, then I can judge them by results. They're just way too deep in the game not to be getting things done. Like any career, the film game is about choices and hardwork. And if people are grinding the way they're supposed to, taking the scariest risks possible and abandoning all comfort zones, then the results will be in their favor. That's just the way of the world, the universe for that matter. There won't be time to whine about something that is simply a fabric of their imaginations. There are quality roles out there for women of color.

    And you said I'm bitter. How can I be? I'm from Brooklyn, NY where we're always On to the Next One (right Jay-Z). You think I'm sitting on my hands waiting for these actresses to figure it out? I'm doing me. I didn't abandon the project I'm referring to. But I did move on to something else and I'm weeks away from completing a final product. I'm also in pre-pro for a few other things. So, no bitterness here. I'm getting it done regardless. Now that's what I mean by being proactive, and I'm not knee deep in the game like some of the people talked about on this blog.

    It's all about progression. Loiterers should be arrested.

  • Nadia | June 23, 2013 11:09 AM

    Clayton sounds like a bitter filmmaker with his own sense of self-importance. The same self-importance he says these actresses have. Maybe your script just isn't very good my man. Have you considered that? Maybe the part isn't all you think it is. It doesn't make one damned difference how many "big time Hollywood casting directors" have taken to your project. These same "big time Hollywood casting directors" are the same ones casting the shit that comes out of Hollywood every week. So using them as a way to back up the strength of your work is a bad idea, because their tastes are already suspect.

    And using Halle Berry as an example is ridiculous. Tell me, what was the last decent film Halle Berry was in that she put herself in? What was Halle's last good role that she created for herself? And other than Lackawanna Blues which she executive produced (which really means nothing), what are all these projects you're talking about that she's produced for other black actresses?

    You have no idea what these actresses are doing or not doing. To make claims like saying that they're not putting themselves in positions to get the roles they want, or that they're just "sitting back" is the most presumptuous thing (among many other presumptuous things) you said and downright disrespectful. You have no idea what they're doing or not doing, and are in no position to make any claims like that. Last I checked, Viola Davis, one of the actresses you're talking down to, formed a production company with her husband, has optioned 2 novels that she'll star in, has an HBO series that Dee Rees is writing, and she continues to work in Hollywood steadily. I don't see an actress who's "sitting back" and waiting for roles to find her. I see an actress taking control of her career.

    Man, you gotta stop with all your nonsensical generalisations about "our lovely black actresses." You sound like a neanderthal.

    What I read here is a frustrated filmmaker who thinks he has the bomb script because "big time Hollywood casting directors" are interested in it (so he says), and who probably hopes that the actress he wants for his film or her agent, will reads this comment, which is partly why you signed your comment with your Facebook and Twitter handles. LOL.

    Good luck son.

  • mawon | June 23, 2013 9:44 AM

    @NO BRAINER I'm the bitter one because I don't buy that actors like Phylicia Rashad are too uppity for their own good? Tell me how that's logical? If that's the case, shouldn't I be stroking my violin like Broomes believing its to their own fault for not recognizing my talents?

    I'm sorry, but quite frankly, I don't think there's a plethora of quality roles sitting on people's desks, waiting for someone to give it a chance. I never believed that story. If it's a great script, there are plenty of ways to get it done without having stars attached. And when you prove yourself with one great story, then there wouldn't be so many hoops to jump through for the next. That's how things are for all filmmakers. You think Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee would've signed on Do the Right Thing had it not been for She's Gotta Have it? And to suggest like Moviestar did that actors should help cultivate a script that isn't all there makes absolutely no sense to me. That's not their job.

    It's also not their job to give others a leg up. Or read every screenplay they encounter. Or take a chance on someone they don't know, has no funding and no track record.

    But anyways, thanks for defending me, CC. Yes, I am a she.

  • CC | June 23, 2013 3:35 AM

    @ NO BRAINER, Mawon is a she, not he. But more importantly, I didn't read her comment(s) as "hating". However, I thought your characterization of her was uncalled for.

  • NO BRAINER | June 23, 2013 3:20 AM

    I'm on nothing CAREY aka CC. This MAWON guy is obviously hating on this man who seems to be talking from experience, an experience closely relating to the topic at hand. You're busy understanding his MAWONNAASS but he's not saying what you're saying. MAWONNAMAN is accusing this guy of having the nerve to say he can save Phylicia Rashad's career, which doesn't seem like the case at all. So, to make that kind of error in judgment tells me it's coming from a place of HATE. On what? I don't know. Maybe it's Broomes's story. He sounds like he is actually playing in the game while others on this blog are just watching from the sidelines, imaging themselves to be playing in the game **COUGH** MAWON **COUGH**.

  • CC | June 23, 2013 3:19 AM

    Nope fellas, I am not getting any deeper in this discussion. There's too much on the floor.

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 2:53 AM

    And CC I don't think it's narrow vision of an actor's goals/mission/responsibilities etc...quite the contrary. I'm all about empowering actors! That's why I'm taking the position I'm taking. Actors aren't "just" actors anymore! Look around. More actors are directing than EVER! Every time I turn around, an a-list actor is stepping behind the camera, i.e. Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson...the list goes on and on. They don't HAVE to...they can sit back and just be actors but they are trying to either create content or help it be created. I'll leave it at that.

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 2:46 AM

    My point is pretty simple. If something isn't working, let's try to find a solution! Let's try something different. Let's a take a chance and evaluate HOW we can progress instead of just complaining. That's all I'm saying. Black actresses CAN'T compare themselves to White actresses. That won't get them anywhere. They have to get creative, think outside the box. The definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Let's try something NEW! Whether it's looking for NEW content in unconventional places or creating it yourself. At some point, they will have to step outside of the Hollywood bubble. The sooner, the better in my opinion.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 2:28 AM

    Too much blame on the wrong people? So, are you suggesting these top-tier actresses, like the ones featured in this discussion, don't have more control over their own careers? If you're saying this, please tell me why you believe this because I disagree wholeheartedly.

  • CC | June 23, 2013 1:59 AM

    Since I didn't have a dog in this fight, I was okay with sitting back and enjoying the exchange until NO BRAINER's intrusion.

    @ Mawon, over the years I've enjoyed reading many of Clayton's comments. I've also read a couple reviews of his film. Today I am feeling the passion he has for his craft, however, I am feeling exactly where you're coming from. Now I am not going over all the details but be rest assured you're making perfect sense. Don't get me wrong, Clayton's argument is rooted on a nice foundation but I believe he and MovieStar14 are assessing too much "blame" on the wrong people in conjunction with a narrow vision of an actor's goals/mission/responsibilities/contracts/opportunities, etc. But I don't know what NO BRAINER is on???

  • NO BRAINER | June 23, 2013 1:10 AM

    LOL! MAWON, I always took you to be a wannabe know-it-all, industry insider, but not a bitter ass hater who just might be writing this crap from your mother's basement... ROTFLMAO!!!

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 1:07 AM

    AND whether it's Clayton's screenplay, or someone else's, you can't complain about lack of content when your representation blocks 80% of the stuff that's sent to you. As an actor, you HAVE to make time to read scripts. It's a bitch, but it's part of what actors do. Even if it takes you a year or even TWO years to get to someone's script, if you make the commitment to READ what's sent to you, I think every once in a blue moon, you'll be surprised to find a jewel that's worth polishing. Or commit to reading the first 10 pages at least! But READ THEM!

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 12:43 AM

    And when I said they, I meant Rashad and her NY Manager, who represented her for years.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 23, 2013 12:38 AM

    You're right about one thing, mawon. You didn't read the script, and neither did they. And to assume I was expecting them to take a pay cut to be in it is quite ridiculous. Surely, you don't think that's the only reason why a producer won't make an offer to talent, do you? And, you're right about another thing: most scripts suck. But, also, most scripts do not get optioned by major Hollywood production companies either. That is not to say my project is some "golden, guaranteed award-winning shit". But it, coupled with the support of some major Hollywood decision makers, does say the script isn't really like the scripts you're referring to.

    Look, it's real simple. If "top tier" talent attach themselves to projects, it only helps when you're raising money for the projects, especially among private equity investors. So, as long as these women are not getting themselves involved with the many quality scripts/projects circulating the industry at this time, then chances are the projects won't get made (not mines, but just saying), and we will be on OWN or BET singing the same song for many years to come.

  • Moviestar | June 23, 2013 12:34 AM

    And pardon my typos as I'm multitasking, lol.

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 12:32 AM

    He used he's own screenplay because it reflects HIS experience. I think you're assuming a lot by saying he's expecting them to take a pay cut and EVEN if that's the case, white actors take a pay cut more often than you know...that's the truth! Yes, Black actresses has less opportunity, but the way to resolve that is by supporting up-and-coming filmmakers, NOT turning your nose up to them. We NEED to encourage and nurture content creators not just say "MOST the scripts are bad" cause guess what, there are scripts that are bad but have something in them that can be salvaged. It's all about whether you are willing to take the time to do it. And obviously, they can't nurture all the upcoming filmmakers out there but maybe start with one. I try to focus on solutions NOT problems. Start a production something about it!

  • mawon | June 23, 2013 12:17 AM

    And he used his own screenplay as an example. I'm not going to comment on it because obviously I haven't read it, but to suggest that just because Rashad's agents didn't jump at the chance to work with Clayton Broomes means that these actors don't have their eyes open wide enough to better roles is pretty ridiculous imo. These women are top tier. And judging by the roles they do end up playing (or not playing), I think the disparity in opportunity between white and black actresses is pretty flippin obvious.

    They can't scour through every screenplay they're offered, because the truth is most scripts suck. I'm not saying that's the case here, but they do. And since he didn't have an offer for them, I'm assuming he was expecting them to take a pay cut to be in it? Well that's a hell of a lot to ask of a veteran actress. It would have to be a glowing screenplay-- like some golden, guaranteed award-winning shit. That's what would be expected of white actors. Why wouldn't they have the same standards? I'm sorry, I think it's ridiculous to suggest its their own fault there aren't enough roles to meet their talents.

  • Moviestar14 | June 22, 2013 11:48 PM

    I don't think Mr. Broomes was suggesting that he's the answer to saving Rashad's career. If you read closely, he's responding directly to the claim that "there is a lack of quality roles out there for black actresses...". The state of Rashad's career is irrelevant. It's about accessibility and expanding your reach if the so called "good" ones aren't coming to you where you are.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 22, 2013 11:43 PM

    You picked that up from reading my comment? Really? Is English your first language? If not, I understand. Not a problem.

  • mawon | June 22, 2013 11:38 PM

    I'm the person who doesn't have the gall to suggest that I'm the answer to saving Phylicia Rashad's career. You must be that other guy.

  • CLAYTON BROOMES JR | June 22, 2013 10:55 PM

    And you are? Or do you prefer to hide behind MAWON.

  • mawon | June 22, 2013 10:43 PM

    Wow, just wow. I knew I should've stopped reading when you said Forest Whitaker was following in Halle Berry's footsteps. Like, what? He was in Oscar-winning movies when Berry was still playing the neighborhood crackhead.

    But it only got worse from there. Much, much worse.

  • CC | June 22, 2013 12:28 PMReply

    These types of programs will always leave something to be desired. Each of these women are still working, still competing and knows very well they're on national TV. Consequently, they can't and will never say what's really on their minds. However, if I had to choose the actress who I believe will be the most "honest", open and unafraid to express her real emotions, I'd cast my vote for Viola Davis. The rest seem to be a wee bit protective of their "image" and maybe somewhat phony.

    Listen, in this world of "political correctness"; a world in-which a personality's every word is scrutinized, analized, miscontrued and possibly used against them, a national TV show is not the place to let it all hang out. Therefore, the "truth" will always take a back seat. Why?

    Well, take for example the reactions/feedback/hate Viola received by telling the truth about the pitiful scripts she was being offered by black writers. Oh lord, some folks lost their damn minds. The most ridiculous and silly accusations has continued to follow her.

    Heck, when I take a deeper look at the ladies on Oprah's couch, I see another who may pull back on the reins. Well, Alfre Woodard is married to a white man. OUCH! I am going to leave that sitting right there.

    However, Oprah said something on "color" which I believe some have twisted. She said "That comes from us". She was not suggesting or implying we (black folks) were the inventors of colorism. She was speaking in the present... we practice colorism.

    Anyway, I wish there was a show in which the participants would receive universal immunity from any type of "persecution" for anything they said. You know, take for instance poor Paula Dean, she admitted to using the N-Word a few times in her life and she got fired. So I'm thinking about a showed titled "A Fly On The Wall: The voice which sees and hears but can't talk". Come on now, I bet the phrase "rats on a piece of cheese" would be a mild version of the truth.

  • CLAYTON BROOME JR | June 22, 2013 10:08 PM

    You said it, CC.

  • CC | June 22, 2013 8:40 PM

    *LOL*... yeah ALM, you caught me, you know I knew that :-).

    I left that out 'cause it wouldn't have helped my argument. I's so sorry. But really, I was just trying to make a point that a person has to be very careful what they say in public or anyplace their words might come back to haunt them.

    In the context of this post, I doubt any of the fantastic five will say what's really on their minds. I believe they'll say the "right" thangs, that's right for their image and career. On the other hand, if this was one of those Atlanta Housewives reunions, then all bets are off. Anything might fall from their mouths.

  • ALM | June 22, 2013 2:35 PM

    CC/Carey Carey:

    Did you read the deposition? Paula did more than use racial slurs. She also allowed sexual harassment and pornography in the workplace and admitted to wanting a plantation style wedding with black servants. In the deposition, they ask her about racial language, and she states that her jokes/language are not racial. She is completely delusion.

  • Donella | June 21, 2013 3:54 PMReply

    I find it disturbing that Viola Davis compared Black actresses seeking roles, like the ones sitting on the couch next to her, to rats on a piece of cheese. Something really unsettling about that.

  • Moviestar14 | June 23, 2013 5:00 PM

    As you can see from the comments above, the analogy fits us all too well, lol.

  • Beezdablock | June 21, 2013 11:23 PM

    Yup. I agree.

  • Ashley | June 21, 2013 10:46 PM

    I felt that too.

  • Nadell | June 21, 2013 1:34 PMReply

    Did Oprah say, "That's comes from us?"..... COLORISM comes from us? The black community?
    Absolutely not! I wish folks would stop pacifying the issue and get to the root cause of the matter. Colorism is not an issue that started w/in the community from its members. It was an outside act that now has perpetuated and it remains a schism within the community at large.

  • BluTopaz | June 21, 2013 2:04 PM

    Sure American colorism started with slavery (as an aside in some African countries, colonialism has led to many African women bleaching their skin so it's not just a Black American problem as many Africans like to think). But imo, this mindset of thinking Oprah's comment is "pacifying" is like saying Black people have no control over our thoughts and actions now. It's not pacifying to focus on the dysfunctions many of us display on a daily basis, we're not children who need to be reminded how we're acting out because so and so treated us horribly. At this point I believe people need to be addressed with their ignorance, not given a history lesson because that apparently is not working. In one of the clips from Dark Girls, one lady mentioned it's been only White people who compliment her lovely dark skin tone and I've heard other very dark skinned people say this. Besides this Oprah video is a short clip, there may be a mention of the roots of color discrimination somewhere in the discussion.

  • S.B. Moseley | June 21, 2013 11:46 AMReply

    Wow! I want to change this ..ish Baby!!!!

  • ScriptTease | June 21, 2013 10:15 AMReply

    Wow, just one hour huh, Oprah could've easily gotten two hours out of this. I really can't think of anything that hasn't been discussed already, but it will be interesting to watch.

  • rashidah | June 21, 2013 9:03 AMReply

    so juiced...can't wait to see this.

  • ALM | June 20, 2013 10:24 PMReply

    To Mrs. Rashad’s question: It will take as long as it takes to change the way that people raise their children. It will also take as long as it takes to rid those who started this whole skin tone debate of their insecurities. Insecure people make other people feel bad because of the color and/or of their skin.

    By the way, the lighting is beautiful on that set. Everyone’s skin is just glowing.

  • ALM | June 21, 2013 2:58 PM

    That should read: Insecure people make other people feel bad because of the color and/or tone of their skin.

  • Donella | June 21, 2013 1:52 PM

    Lighting can really affect perception. Lighting on set used to default to pale skin which made darker people on the same set appear grey, blue, or purple. That's why I felt so startled when I watched Waiting to Exhale. For the first time, the lighting made everyone, men and women, look beautiful in rich tones of brown.

  • Beezdablock | June 20, 2013 9:11 PMReply

    I adore Viola. I think she's crazy talent and gorgeous with her natural hair. But I swear I can't stand to listen to her talk. Something about her way of explaining (or even "excusing") things just bothers me (ever since that interview she did with Tavis about The Help) and her need to dominate any conversation. I would have loved to hear more from Rashad and Woodard. I would definitely like to see this whole discussion. Very interesting.

  • sosgemini | June 21, 2013 1:34 PM

    Damn shame I gotta agree cause I too love Viola. Plus, Rashad tends to hold back during these group discussions. I hope Oprah provides a platform for each of them to be heard.

  • Mark | June 21, 2013 10:37 AM

    Yeah, that Viola Davis, she's just an uppity Negress. -___-

  • Anton | June 21, 2013 9:21 AM

    I feel the same way about Davis. She's extremely talented, and I predict she will win a Best Actress Oscar in the future, but I usually can't listen to her in interviews. She comes off pretty haughty and passive aggressive. It wasn't only the interview with Tavis that turned me off, but that interview with ABC Nightline where she said the majority of the scripts she received from young black filmmakers were roles where she'd play a crackhead.

    By the way, it would have been interesting had Halle Berry and Angela Bassett was included in this discussion.

  • Ashley | June 20, 2013 9:03 PMReply

    I love Phylicia Rashad! "But Lord, goodness, how long is it gonna take?" Valid question Phylicia.

  • God-lessfufu1 | June 20, 2013 5:13 PMReply

    We already know this right. Blaxploitation documentary made valid points as to why the Hollywood is the way it is. It is about keeping White males employed, directing, scriptwriting, and so on. They keep Blacks out of the jobs and out of the movies. It is intentional and it is called Racism White Supremacy.

  • Howze Man | June 21, 2013 1:44 PM

    I don't entirely disagree, but there's no excuse with a vibrant internet at your fingers.

    Huge movies will be a problem. But no White person has the obligation to make sure Black stories are told. As the record shows, White people can't be trusted to tell Black stories; they've never been Black. I don't think we should let them.
    Through services like Kick-starter Tarqi Nasheed (first one that came to mind) grew a following and used the fans to create three films to date. That's how it should be done, not through complaining.

    Black people supporting Black projects.

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