Black entertainers are still longing for equity in entertainment

April Reign on PBS:

Black actresses have always faced barriers. Initially, they were not allowed to be on screen at all. Then, they could only play certain types of roles: typically either as a servant and/or enslaved woman, or as an “exotic” temptress. Never a character that was fully realized, one with depth or nuance.

While we would like to think that things have changed significantly, the facts don’t bear that out. Indeed, even after Black actresses win some of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry, they still struggle to find meaningful work. Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg and Mo’Nique have all publicly discussed this phenomenon as Oscar winners. Berry explains in How It Feels To Be Free that while she expected doors would open for her as the first Black woman to win an Oscar for best actress, she found the opposite to be the case. In fact, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer recounted that she received assistance from Jessica Chastain in negotiating a salary five times larger than it otherwise would have been, because Chastain tied Spencer’s salary to her own. In other words, Jessica Chastain, a white woman, used her privilege to advocate on behalf of Octavia Spencer, the Oscar winner.

More here. (Note: Throughout February, at least one post will be dedicated to Black History Month. The theme for 2023 is Black Resistance. Please send us anything you think is relevant for inclusion)