I was taking a sip of my coffee when my colleague, an actress of a delicate, yet raw beauty resembling Kate Moss blurted out with such distaste:
“Everything is so diverse, now it’s hard for me to get auditions…. there are no parts for white women.”
Wow! I thought, let me get a violin and tune it up, because this lady was expecting me to play!
Are roles for white women REALLY becoming extinct? Um, NO. Well, I certainly don’t think so.
For years, the small percentage of roles that have been available for women, have been played by white actresses. White actresses have had access to a myriad of roles that have enabled them to exercise their talent, emphasizing the fact that characters/people are multi-dimensional. Which in turn allows an audience to be willing to invest in their work, their creativity.
Roles that could have been played by women of colour have often be given to white actresses. Elizabeth Taylor, Scarlet Johanson, Angelina Jolie and Emma Stone are some actresses to name a few, that have benefited from the act of white washing. The act of white washing has been happening in the entertainment industry for years, since the silent movie era.
Executives and producers in the past, justified it by claiming that there was not enough diverse talent out there or that in order to green light a film it is necessary to put a white well know actress in the leading female role, and just put them in ‘black face’ and all is good!
Was there a complete disregard for what an audience of colour, a PAYING audience of colour thought?
For so long, films and tv shows that have a lack or no diversity have been seen as the norm.
An overdue progression is now happening in the entertainment industry, after years and years of underrepresented creatives standing their ground and fighting for their stories to be told. Despite the lack of funding, despite the disregard or the naysayers saying that productions by or featuring black people won’t sell’ there were still a number of black crusaders that have gone above and beyond expectations. You only have to look at the success of Black Panther, Get Out, Girls Trip, Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder to see that there is craving, a need for productions which dispel the idea that there is only one narrative, one perception.
However, the very slight increase of women of colour in productions has not suddenly eradicated white female roles and it never will! White actresses still and will have a place in the majority of productions…whether created by a person of colour or not.
Going back to my Kate Moss look –alike colleague, I didn’t bring out a violin but asked her a few questions:
Is my story taking away your freedom, your confidence, your voice, your existence?
Is my progression not as important at yours?
Do I not deserve to see a positive representation of myself, my experiences as you do?
There are many hurdles that female creatives of ALL shades, have to overcome, I am not disputing that. Truth be told, there is still a hierarchy which curbs the progression of all women in the entertainment industry, we are constantly having to fight, sexism, ageism and in some cases classicism, colourism and racism just to be seen and heard.
It does not have to be a bitter sweet victory to have much more diverse female roles, it should and can be a sweet delight for all.
New fresh, dynamic stories are being told, bringing new audiences and interactions. Presenting two women from different backgrounds on screen, may actually surpass the Bechdel Test. Finally letting conversations that really matter appear in the foreground.
As we all know, a great woman, always comes before a great man.
@AnniwaaBuachie: I am not a writer, just a blabber, a lady that asks many questions but never knows how to collate the answers. Just a normal lady with nothing more to say, than words that mean nothing but say something.