By Timia Cobb
Web Content Contributor
It’s always the same thing, a young average looking white girl falling in love with an emotionally unavailable boy or an obvious non trans, lesbian, gay, etc. person playing the role of a LGBT+ member. The American film industry has become predictable and is losing its luster.
Hollywood has lost its originality and has become a toxic industry that lacks diversity.
Timothée Chalamet is an outstanding young actor who has gained a lot of attention in the last two years. He has starred in Netflix’s “The King”, “Call Me by Your Name” and in the new adaptation of “Little Women” coming out this year. Chalamet has talent and has earned his roles but there is some bias in his success.
Chalamet is known for his white boy of the month looks and being attractive. Films know that casting him can bring more attention from women and girls who find him attractive. I am in no form discrediting his acting skills because Chalamet is one of the few good actors who doesn’t use his looks to get roles that someone else obviously could play.
Black, gay, transexual, Hispanic, etc. actors are pushed aside a lot in the film industry which is absurd. Billy Porter is a black and openly gay male actor who for a long time questioned his place in the film industry due to not getting hired.
He would be told he was too flamboyant or feminine for roles he auditioned for. This is upsetting because straight cisgendered men are playing roles of LBGT+ members when actors who actually identify with that sexuality can’t land a role.
However, Billy Porter made history this year by being the first gay black man to win and Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He not only won, but won while representing a show that brings awarness to HIV, supports gay men and transexual women and teaches about ball culture. Porter and his show “Pose” are examples of how important representation is.
Coming of age films are a basic example of why representation matters. When you watch coming of age films such as “Mean Girls”, “Lady Bird”, “The Breakfast Club” or “Clueless” you start to see all these movies lack minority leads. When looking up coming of age films it’s not shocking to see that they aren’t movies about young black girls navigating through high school, transexual teenagers having a normal life that isn’t based on struggle or asian boys finding their identity.
Minorities are always given the role of the best friend who hypes the more than likely Caucasian lead character who has no personality. Not representing minorities in coming of age films is almost saying they don’t have an identity that doesn’t revolve around race, gender or sexuality. Having diverse leads in not just coming of age films but all films tells minorities that they can belong.
Hollywood has the problem however of reusing actors. What I mean by this is the film industry reusing any actors, most of the time a minority actor, over and over again in films to prove those films are diverse. Zoe Saladana, Christina Milian, Halle Berry, Kerry Washington are all examples of women who repeatedly play the role of the black girlfriend. Yes, each of these women play lead characters but most of the time they are partnered with a white male who plays the main lead in the movie.
Black women for years have been given the role of the romantic counterpart to white men and Hollywood never puts in any effort to find new actresses. It’s as though the film industry has been in a time loop for 25 years, continuously reusing the same movie plot and five black actresses.
There are a lot of things wrong with the film industry but the biggest problem has to be with sexual harassment. The film industry gives people the power to manipulate and coerce young actors all the time. In 2018 USA Today surveyed 843 women asking if they had ever experienced sexual harassment in the film industry, 94% said they had.
Sexual harassment is an obvious problem in the film industry that’s consistiently happening to women and men. The worst part is some of these sexual assaulters have so much power in the industry that they can get away with doing anything. Hollywood has been built into a crooked power structure that protects sexual assaulters and uses actors.
The film industry isn’t great and who knows if it’s ever been but that means it has room to grow. With more representation and movements such as MeToo; hopefully Hollywood can someday be an industry that represents all people, respects all its workers and gains back a sense of originality.
Featured image via Creative Commons.