You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Samuel L. Jackson: ’12 Years A Slave’ Proof That Hollywood Still Isn’t Ready To Deal w/ Racism

Samuel L. Jackson: '12 Years A Slave' Proof That Hollywood Still Isn't Ready To Deal w/ Racism

Thank God for Samuel L. Jackson. He’s one of the few big
movie actors today who is always quotable. He always has something interesting
to say – whether you agree with him or not. This time it’s about racism and
Hollywood.

In an interview in the International Business Times over the weekend, Jackson said that Hollywood, by and large, still avoids dealing with racism and that 12 Years A Slave
is a perfect example of that.

According to Jackson, the only reason why the film got
made was because director Steve McQueen
is British and not African-American, implying, I assume, that his take on
slavery would be “safer” in a manner
of speaking.

As Jackson said: “I would think that if an African-American
director went into a studio and pitched that particular film, they would be like:
‘No, no, no.’ It is a film about African-Americans – a dark period of
history that they don’t like to explore in that particular way.

He further added that: “Look, I’m glad 12 Years got made and it’s
wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened
in America. But I’m not real sure why Steve McQueen wanted to tackle that
particular sort of thing.

I should, at this point, add that personally I’ve always thought and have said that the fact that McQueen was not African-American made him more likely to make a film
about slavery, since I hold that African-Americans are still too psychologically
shell-shocked, and therefore African American directors too, in dealing with the subject. But then
that’s me (Charles Burnett’s Nightjohn and Gordon Parks’ Solomon Northup’s Odyessy, the original 12 Years A Slave, being a few exceptions).

Jackson went on to say that a film such as Fruitvale Station is more honest and “braver” than 12 Years was, in
dealing with the subject of race in America:

It explains things like the shooting of
Trayvon Martin, the problems with stop and search, and is just more poignant. America
is much more willing to acknowledge what happened in the past: ‘We freed the
slaves! It’s all good!’ But to say: ‘We are still unnecessarily killing black
men’ – let’s have a conversation about that.

So what do you say. Do you agree with Jackson, or is he
talking nonsense?

This Article is related to: News and tagged