Media tagged African American

Matt Damon interrupts Effie Brown to explain diversity in filmmaking

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This video clip is from the fourth season (2015) of Project Greenlight, an American documentary television series on HBO that follows first-time filmmakers as they are given the chance to direct a movie. In this video segment, a group of mostly White male producers, including Matt Damon, famous actor and one of the executive producers of the show, are sitting together evaluating the projects. There is one other (White) woman, but the only person of color in the group is Effie Brown, an experienced Hollywood producer who has produced seventeen feature films. As they are discussing one of the films, Effie Brown brings up a concern that the only black person in the movie is a prostitute that is slapped by her white pimp, and that it may be important to be aware of who is selected to direct a scene and characters like that, because of the representational significance of that being the only black person on screen in the film. Matt Damon interrupts to argue that the directing team had already talked about the same issue that Effie was bringing up, and she disagrees. He then proceeds to interrupt and talk over her again, explaining what he views diversity in films to be, saying, “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not the casting of the show,” meaning that diversity concerns only matter when thinking about who is onscreen, and not who is behind the scenes writing, directing, and producing movies. 

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Michael Jackson, "Black or White"--the UNCUT version

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This 11-minute uncut version of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” music video was released six months after the March 1991 Rodney King beating by four Los Angeles police officers, and offers a complicated commentary on contemporary race relations. The video was most often exhibited without the last 4 1/2 minutes on MTV and other television outlets, which resulted in many viewers only seeing the optimistic, poppy, racial and global harmony parts of the video and not being aware of the portion that pointedly juxtaposed scenes of prevalent racist, war-torn, and blighted city streets. In contrast to images of Jackson dancing with people from around the world, black and white babies sitting together on a globe, and diverse, smiling faces morphing into one another as they joyfully sing the pop song, in the latter section, Jackson performs his signature dance moves, but they are deliberately laced with anger, even violence, as he destroys the racism and prejudice emblazoned on graffiti-marred public property, and through his dance, takes ownership of the public space of the street.

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Michelle Obama on Doc McStuffins

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Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, plays an animated version of herself in this clip from “Doc McStuffins Goes to Washington,” an October 2015 episode of Doc McStuffins, a Disney Junior animated children’s television series about young African-American Dottie “Doc” McStuffins who wants to be a doctor like her mother and practices by examining, diagnosing, and healing toys, dolls, and stuffed animals. This episode segment shows Doc McStuffins with a group of kids, one of whom is carrying a crate of fruits and vegetables, visiting the White House. Michelle Obama joins the group and praises their efforts to improve themselves and their communities before one of the kid’s toys gets hurt and Doc McStuffins is called on to help.

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Misty Copeland in Under Armour's "I Will What I Want"

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Misty Copeland, one of American Ballet Theatre's first African-American soloists, has what many considered "the wrong body" for ballet. She is featured in a 2014 women-focused Under Armour ad campaign series called “I Will What I Want.” The commercial shows the ballerina’s skilled dancing and athleticism while a young person’s voice is heard reading a rejection letter to a 13-year old ballet academy candidate (the age at which Misty Copeland started ballet).

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Nivea-Recivilize

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In this ad for skincare products, a black man is shown wearing a conservative white button-down shirt, grey sweater, and tailored jeans. His hair is cut short. In his hand he holds a mask with an afro, which he has apparently just removed. His stance suggests that he is about to heave the mask away from himself. The text of the ad reads, “Look like you give a damn,” and “Re-civilize yourself,” implying that a black man with an afro hairstyle is somehow “uncivilized,” or that a man who would wear such a style does not care about looking good.

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