Based on emails I’ve received, and articles I’ve read this week, some of you are apparently taken aback by the fact that the latest Forbes list of the 10 highest paid actresses, released earlier this week, is absent of any black actresses.
And in response to that, I’m shocked that you’re shocked!
Seriously, where the heck have you been? Have you visited a movie theater lately to watch a film? How about in the last 12 months? 24 months? 60 months even? And how often have you found yourself sitting in a movie theater, looking up at the film playing in front of you, and seen the faces of black actresses in leading roles that would command the kind of high salaries the women who did make the Forbes list are receiving?
How many black women STARS are there? Not just black women actors, but STARS? The ones whose names are near-guaranteed box office triumphs.
To complain about the absence of black actresses on this list is silly, and is to ignore decades of discussion on the lack of diversity within the Hollywood machine, and the numerous attempts that many have made (whether by individuals or collectively) to help affect the kind of change that would allow more black actors and actresses the kinds of opportunities and privilege that their Caucasian contemporaries have enjoyed since the medium was invented.
Surely, I hope it didn’t take this 2012 list to make you realize that we have a, you know, problem here (one that’s much older and deeper than this list), and that this is still very much an industry that’s dominated by the images of white men and women.
If anything, I’d instead be taken aback by the fact that Kristen Stewart is at the top of the list this year, thanks to those horrible Twilight movies. Now THAT’s something that should raise your eyebrows; not this.
Let’s first worry about getting our treasured actresses more work; preferably starring roles in high profile projects; or really just more work, starring role or not; high profile project or not.