Diversity Must Start At Home

Currently there is a lot of attention being paid to the lack of diversity in the Tim Burton directed Ms. Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. As a constant reader I have read and enjoyed these books for years and was not surprised at the lack of brown faces on the screen. There aren’t any people of color in the books. Why? One would have to ask the writer. The stories are fictional books about children who do everything from be invisible,  float, eat through a second mouth in the back of their heads, to emit fire from their hands; surely with an imagination that can create these characters some of them could have easily been a shade of brown.

Even more astonishing; the novels are set in a fictional version of Wales. Where is Wales? The United Kingdom. Are there black people in the Wales, UK? Yup. For the record black and brown people are everywhere.

So if this is true and people write what they know then why is there such an abysmal lack of diversity in books, movies, and television. Why is there always only one black person or Asian person included in these settings? And then why are those people usually comic relief or the villain? (See there’s a black person. And some potentially brown people. Their villains.)miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-poster-banner

 

Simple: The people who get chosen to write movies- the directors, casting agents, financiers, decision makers, screen play writers-the authors who get chosen to have their novels first published and then made into movies; are usually white. Are usually male and they were usually raised in a home in a place with at best one black family or one Asian family-with one other family. Thus we end up with a world whose entertainment is written by people who don’t know how to write other because they don’t know other.

As long as white people continue to love segregation (Thirty years after the civil rights era, the United States remains a residentially segregated society in which blacks and whites still often inhabit vastly different neighborhoods.) the lack of diversity in their lives, the lives chosen so frequently to be portrayed in the media- will continue to exist. Thus the lack of diversity in media will continue to exist.

How do we fix this? Simple: We give publishing contracts and publish books written by POC. We hire POC directors,screenwriters, casting agents, financiers, and decision makers. Who will then hire POC talent. But As long as a small segment of the people continue to be in control the rest of us will always be left out.

Oh and if you’re wondering if I’ll watch the movie, I will. I’ll just wait until it comes out on Netflix. I’m the best silent protester I know. Don’t include me? Cool. But you won’t be getting my money.

 

Dope, A Nineties Kid’s Wet Dream Come True

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Last night I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of the movie Dope. One sentence review? Dope is Dope as Fuck.

First, Dope is not set in the nineties but the leading character’s obsession with the era is displayed in their dress, way of talk, and the music that they love to listen to. The music led by Pharell Williams is definitely one of the best film soundtracks that I’ve heard in a very long while. Both the 90s hits and the original songs added to the Dopeness of this film.

Dope is a fast paced comedy reminiscent of The Wood, which was also directed by Rick Famuwiya, which tells the tale of three high school seniors; Malik, Diggy, and Jib and their epic adventure when they get mixed up with the wrong crowd.

The three teens who self identify as 90s obsessed geeks, have a punk band, and are all on the fast track to ivy league universities with straight A’s and high SAT scores are nothing like the inhabitants of their neighborhood. Their primary goals are to make it out of the hood alive with no arrest records. After Malik meets and develops a crush on a neighborhood drug dealers girlfriend Kia (played by the beautiful Zoe Kravitz), the three best friends are invited to a party, subsequently sucked into the drama of their neighborhood, and end up being forced to sale a large amount of Ecstacy in order to pay back the neighborhood kingpin. They team up with a computer hacker friend who teaches them to sell the drugs on the internet’s black market and the fun ensues.

Adding to the awesomeness of Dope is the fact that this film is not your typical coming of age drama, though these teens are forced to play a deadly game they play it their way which is both hilarious and brilliant, the social commentary including a discussion on who can say the N word (white people you can’t, just stop already) and the realization that Ivy League educations don’t always lead to greatness. The characters aren’t one dimensional and the portrayal of each shows you that people are a lot more than you ever think they are on the surface.

I almost forgot to mention how dope the cast was, be prepared for some great cameos including Tyga and ASAP Rocky who shocked me with his portrayal as the head of the neighborhood drug dealer. Like the main characters his character had a lot more depth and made you question how people end up in the positions they obtain in life.

I would not only pay to see this film again but I plan to own it when it’s released to purchase. Go see it and tell me what you think.

I was not paid for this review and all trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.