Chris Rock Calls Out Hollywood's Whiteness By Pointing a Finger At 'True Detective' & More
This guy's on a roll: Chris Rock recently sat down with Frank Rich for an interview many have deemed essential, and now Rock's written something on race in Hollywood for The Hollywood Reptorter. He touches on a lot of similar things in his piece as he did with Rich, but he also hones in on one topic that's been obviously on his mind for as long as he's been around.
Rock has experienced a lot of success in his Hollywood endeavors, so it's nice to see someone in his position continue to be so transparent about his experiences and what he thinks has — and hasn't — progressed. A lot has changed since Eddie Murphy first led him through the Paramount gates, and a lot is still yet to. I highly encourage you to go read the full essay over at THR, but here here a few notable points he made:
On how it's not just about getting black people opportunities:
But forget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough? [...] You're telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that's true? The odds are, because people are people, that there's probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody's company right now. The odds are that there's probably a Mexican who's that smart who's never going to be given a shot. And it's not about being given a shot to greenlight a movie because nobody is going to give you that — you've got to take that. The shot is that a Mexican guy or a black guy is qualified to go and give his opinion about how loud the boings are in Dodgeball or whether it's the right shit sound you hear when Jeff Daniels is on the toilet in Dumb and Dumber. It's like, "We only let white people do that." This is a system where only white people can chime in on that. There would be a little naivete to sitting around and going, "Oh, no black person has ever greenlighted a movie," but those other jobs? You're kidding me, right? They don't even require education. When you're on the lower levels, they're just about taste, nothing else. And you don't have to go to Harvard to have taste.
On the desperation not seeing your demo represented in the mainstream creates:
I really don't think there's any difference between what black audiences find funny and what white audiences find funny, but everyone likes to see themselves onscreen, so there are some instances where there's a black audience laughing at something that a white audience wouldn't laugh at because a black audience is really just happy to see itself. Things that would be problems in a world where there were a lot of black movies get overlooked. The same thing happened with those Sex and the City movies. You don't really see that level of female movie that much, so women were like, 'We're only going to get this every whatever, so f— you, f— the reviews, we're going, we like it.'
On the pressure on "Black" films
But when you have a system where you probably only see three movies with African-American leads in them a year, they're going to be judged more harshly, and you're really rooting for them to be good a little more so than the 140 movies starring white people every year.
On how the whiteness of Hollywood is most evident in casting discussions:
Or how about True Detective? I never heard anyone go, "Is it going to be Amy Adams or Gabrielle Union?" for that show. I didn't hear one black girl's name on those lists. Not one. Literally everyone in town was up for that part, unless you were black. And I haven't read the script, but something tells me if Gabrielle Union were Colin Farrell's wife, it wouldn't change a thing.
The whole thing is well worth a read.