Hollywood from a Minority Perspective

The New York Times came out with an article today that featured interviews from 27 women and minority industry players in entertainment. The statistics are unequivocal: Women and minorities are vastly underrepresented in front of and behind the camera. Here are a few of their testimonials:

KEN JEONG
Creator and star, “Dr. Ken”
A U.C.L.A. acting professor gave me good marks in my performance and [said]: “You’re a good actor, which is why I’m telling you, stay the hell out of L.A. There’s not much of a future for you. Go to Asia.” I got an A. He was saying that out of respect.

EVA LONGORIA
Star, director, producer, “Telenovela”
I didn’t speak Spanish [growing up]. I’m ninth generation. I mean, I’m as American as apple pie. I’m very proud of my heritage. But I remember moving to L.A. and auditioning and not being Latin enough for certain roles. Some white male casting director was dictating what it meant to be Latin. He decided I needed an accent. He decided I should [have] darker-colored skin. The gatekeepers are not usually people of color, so they don’t understand you should be looking for way more colors of the rainbow within that one ethnicity.

WENDELL PIERCE
Actor, “The Wire,” “Grease: Live”, “Confirmation” (coming on HBO)
Juilliard was a great place to train and prepare for the politics of the business. You were given roles [based on] how you fit into the company. I didn’t get any roles that weren’t 20, 30 years my elder. We had a running joke, the black actors, “If you come here you better get your funny walks, because you’re going to be playing all the old guys.”

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