Tag Archives: racism

Chuck Berry and Creating Commercialated Culture

chuck berry sailor cap

Chuck Berry may be dead but you know he won’t stay buried.  He’s just too irrepressible for confinement to such a singular state.  He was like his music:  audacious and muscular.  His huge hands easily enveloped the fretboard of his Gibson ES-335 and pulled sounds from it that would electrify the soul.  Is it possible to remain still while experiencing the pure energy coming from ...

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Native American Voices at The Autry

footlights fairly traceable

Native Voices at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, CA is giving a loud voice to the stories of Native American people in Fairly Traceable a romantic dramedy, currently being presented as a world premiere, written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, Cherokee citizen, playwright and partner at Pipestem Law, a firm specializing in the sovereignty of Native tribes and peoples. The story follows two law students ...

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Is It Enough?

Recently, I had the privilege to see a performance of Zoot Suit, the revival at the Mark Taper Forum. While I often speak of theatre as an important tool of cultural consciousness, I also look forward to being entertained when I see a play.  And I can unabashedly say that both my wife Michelle and I both loved the show. Charles McNulty of the L.A. ...

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The Bechdel Test and the Art of Politics

diversity bechdel scientist appearance

Have you heard of the Bechdel test?  It was developed to formalize an observation made by Virginia Woolf about the simplicity of women’s characters in literature.  A piece of fiction passes the test if, and only if, three conditions are met: The work has at least two women in it who talk to each other about something other than a man. Given the simplicity of ...

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Equity Removes Tweet, Inserts Letter

actors equity logo

Yesterday, Actors’ Equity officially applauded a wording change in the casting notice for Hamilton.  The tweet was controversial because it begged the question about being able to cast by race – something that doesn’t appear to be an issue if the casting notice calls exclusively for Caucasians.  That tweet: spurred a significant Internet backlash.  Equity has since deleted the tweet. Today, Equity issued another tweet ...

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UPDATED: Hamilton Casting Raises Diversity Issues

black and white diversity

The diversity argument in the arts has been brewing hotter for at least a year now.   The backlash discussion of Howlround’s Jubilee, an attempt to get theaters to commit to producing only non-white, non-male writers in the year 2020, showed that the boundary between diversity and inclusiveness is not as sharp as might be expected. Now Hamilton, the Broadway sensation that will likely sweep the ...

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Homogeneous Hollywood Losing Money?

money down drain

On the heels of the recent diversity report from cross-town football rival, USC, today UCLA has released its study on the lack of diversity in Hollywood.  The 60-page scholarly report, created by the Bunche Center of African American Studies, is filled with numbers that are sadly familiar:  There can be no doubt that the entertainment industry is not a place of equal opportunity. This report ...

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Hollywood Diversity: Real-Life Stories

diversity hollywood discrimination footlights

The New York Times: The #OscarsSoWhite awareness continues with these stories from the field.  If there are more diverse roles, there would be more diverse Oscars.  Asian, Black, Latino, Female, Gay:  the story is always the same.  There appears to be a desire to use stereotypes to tell stories which only increases the awareness of the stereotype.  The present discussion may help break the feedback ...

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Diversity Stats in Hollywood: It’s Not Pretty

annenberg usc study 3

As the Oscars approach, we again are reminded that #OscarsSoWhite.  A scholarly report from USC entitled “Inclusion or Invisibility: Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment” yields some troubling statistics.  These include a 2:1 ratio of male:female speaking roles and that only 28.3% of all speaking characters were from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups. Not surprisingly, the report concludes, in part: The film industry still functions as ...

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Don Cheadle Needed A White Actor

Don Cheadle

Deadline Hollywood: The true rules of a system are often hidden.   Just as the election of Barack Obama did not signal a “post-racial” society, more actors of color at the Oscars may not signal a “post-racial” Hollywood.  For example, well-known actor, Don Cheadle, decided to make a film about jazz great, Miles Davis.  But funding for that film required something besides Cheadle’s resume, as he ...

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