Young black actors are still being overlooked and undersold for roles in major motion pictures.
A changing of the guard is slowly taking place in Hollywood. Larger than life movie stars of yesteryear are dying out. The new school is rolling in. But in the process, many talented upstarts are being judged by the color of their skin, not their ability.
Ironically, Hollywood is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Los Angeles, a town often classified as the diversity capital of the world. African Americans make up 9.6 percent of the city’s population, and 9.3 percent of L.A. County. This essentially means that Hollywood-the place where magic happens to only white folk — is surrounded by a pool of black, brown and yellow inhabitants, many of whom will never realize their dreams of making it to the big screen. That in and of itself is a drama. Because work is hard to come by these days for black actors, the trend has been for the more established bunch to hoard the scraps left behind by the Taylor Lautners and Jennifer Lawrences of the world. Even when movies are made specifically for black actors, the names on the marquee rarely change.
For example, “The Best Man” rocked theaters over 13 years ago (during the Clinton era). Nevertheless, “The Best Man 2,” is slated to premiere on November 15, despite the prolonged delay. During production, the amenities on set included rocking chairs, joint juice, Epson salt, butterscotch, bingo cards, seltzer, mashed potatoes, and access to handicap parking (per request of the cast). Yes, that’s a reference to old age.
“Bad Boys,” the original, exploded on the scene back in 95′ (when hoop earrings were a staple in men’s fashion). But lo and behold, a third installment of that franchise is rumored to be in its developmental stages (prepare for a 2015 release. At that point, the dynamic duo will be pushing 50. Perhaps afterward they will audition for roles in “The Expendables” series).