What's Happening In Your World
by Dr. Boyce Watkins Director Antoine Fuqua is one of the most talented people in all of Hollywood.  His films, including “Training Day” and “Olympus Has Fallen” have done quite well at the box office, and he deserves tremendous credit for his accomplishments. My eyebrows lifted when I heard Fuqua, perhaps inadvertently, playing the role of the negro who lets a racist institution off the hook, largely because he is being so well taken care of.  Antoine, speaking with The Voice, said the following: “I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood,” he said. “But ultimately, you have to put in the work. “It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way.” Antoine’s comments should probably be refined and clarified just a bit, largely because it’s just the kind of remark that rich white people love to pay black men to make.   It’s the typical, “white guys have nearly all the opportunities because most black people aren’t qualified” comment, which serves as continuous validation of white supremacy. Statistically speaking, when you see so many black people being shut out of an institution, particularly one that has been proven to be undeniably racist, it’s largely because there are long-term systemic factors that continue to keep black people out.   Yes, Hollywood is a business and as a professor of business myself,  I can say that African Americans have a difficult time competing with the shear economic power that white America has accumulated by keeping us from being able to build our wealth for the last 400 years.  This leads to Hollywood studios controlling the landscape of black opportunity in ways that are nothing short of sad, sick and embarrassing. Antoine, who is a smart guy no doubt, continues with his comment by admitting that not every white guy in Hollywood has a firm grasp on black culture. “I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience,” he said.  Here it appears  that Mr. Fuqua is confusing racist intent with systematic racism.  You see, systematic racism doesn’t exist in America because every white man wakes up in the morning choosing to racist.  Instead, it exists because for hundreds of years, our society was built with a set of norms, patterns and constructs that lead to white men controlling nearly everything in our society.  Therefore, these long-evolved power and wealth disparities allow whites to have a greater ability to promote their own values and expectations over those of black and brown people. So, the fact is that systematic racism can exist even when you don’t have a single racist person in the building.   Mr. Fuqua’s friends probably do love him in spite of the color his skin.  I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to fund his next project.  But he has to realize that he lives in a world that has trained him to believe that as “the chosen negro,” it is now his job to align his values with those in power and to undermine the efforts of those who seek fairness and equality in our society.  He doesn’t have to lead the charge against racism, but I am hopeful that he won’t continue to blindly obstruct it. Personally, I would prefer that Antoine continue to make good movies, and judge talent fairly.  He’s done a great job of creating compelling roles for talented black actors and actresses.  The fact that he has access to a large microphone does not qualify him to become Hollywood’s version of Dr. Cornel West.  He’d be better off leaving this kind of analysis to the scholars. Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, “ Black American Money ”. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.  

Dr. Boyce: Director Antoine Fuqua Says Hollywood isn’t Racist? OK, I’m Confused

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Director Antoine Fuqua is one of the most talented people in all of Hollywood.  His films, including “Training Day” and “Olympus Has Fallen” have done quite well at the box office, and he deserves tremendous credit for his accomplishments.

My eyebrows lifted when I heard Fuqua, perhaps inadvertently, playing the role of the negro who lets a racist institution off the hook, largely because he is being so well taken care of.  Antoine, speaking with The Voice, said the following:

“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood,” he said. “But ultimately, you have to put in the work.

“It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way.”

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One comment

  1. WHAT A BLIND FOOL BUT AT LEAST THEY GAVE HIM A CHANCE, RIGHT CLARENCE THOMAS