Saturday, March 25, 2023

Are Black Actors’ Roles Improving from ‘Just The Black Best Friend or The Crackhead’

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There’s no doubt that things are changing in Hollywood. In an industry where black actors and actresses were once exclusively relegated to roles as servants, or supporting characters or drug addicts, African-Americans have broken barriers and given way to what some have called the Black Hollywood Renaissance.

After the widespread praise of films like Steve McQueens’ “12 Years a Slave,” and the rise of stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Eljiofor and Michael B. Jordan, as well as comedians like Kevin Hart who continue to own the box office, it’s obvious that black actors and actresses are carving out space for themselves in leading and groundbreaking roles.

During an interview on Huff Post Live Friday, the cast of the web series “For Colored Boys” talked with host Marc Lamont Hill about how Hollywood is changing for people of color.

“It’s nice because I feel like there’s starting to become more of a diversity of types of roles,” actress Lauren Hooper said. “It’s not just like the black best friend, or the crackhead or the drug dealer. There’s the young professional, lawyer, there’s so many different types of roles that are up.”

Hooper went on to discuss how more independent pieces are making their way into mainstream media, adding to the diversity of the types of stories being told in films.

But there’s still progress to be made. Actor Taye Diggs recently discussed how black films often face a frustrating double standard in the industry.

“Unfortunately, the business is such that as far as studios are concerned, they judge one quote-unquote black movie on how other ‘black’ movies have done, even if they have nothing to do with each other,” he said.

“We’ve definitely come a long way. But we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s too bad we can’t do well on our own merit when it comes to the studios. They don’t like to take risks and, unfortunately, we’re still considered a huge risk, even though I don’t think we are.”


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