This week director John Singleton participated in The Hollywood Reporter’s The Hollywood Masters interview series at Loyola Marymount University and he didn’t mince words about his view of Hollywood in 2014 and how it’s still a struggle for Black people to tell their stories to a mainstream audience.
“They ain’t letting the black people tell the stories,” Singleton said during the interview referring to films like Ray, 42 and even the upcoming James Brown biopic Get On Up, being directed by white directors. “[Studio executives say] ‘We’re going to take your stories but, you know what? You’re going to go starve over here and we’re not going to let you get a job.’ The so-called liberals that are in Hollywood now are not as good as their parents or ancestors. They feel that they’re not racist. They grew up with hip-hop, so [they] can’t be racist. ‘I like Jay Z, but that don’t mean I got to give you a job.’ ”
“They want black people [to be] what they want them to be,” he continued. “And nobody is man enough to go and say that. They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now — so-called black films now — they’re great. They’re great films. But they’re just product. They’re not moving the bar forward creatively. … When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don’t have anything that’s special.”
Singleton bounced back and forth with his points and it didn’t seem like he had a clear idea for the solution to the problem. But check the interview below and share your thoughts in the comments: