This is the blog of Olivia A. Cole. Olivia is an author and blogger. Her novel Panther in the Hive was released in 2014 and can be purchased here. For contact information and bio, her personal website is here.
As an aspiring African American actress your post was truly an encouragement to keep going with my dream to provide quality entertainment. Thank you and keep up the good work!
I read your post “I’m tired of seeing white people on the big screen” your article is on point! When will white Hollywood stop being racist. There is an abundance of good African American actors who can perform outstanding on the big screen as well. I am also tired of seeing mostly white kids in TV commercials and print ads. It would have one black kids, one Asian or Biracial, but now I have noticed they’re getting away with just having a Biracial kids instead of a whole African American, like that’s good enough. I had my son with a modeling agency based in Florida for two years and we never did get any booking, so I just gave up. The world will never change.
Awesome perspective. Well-articulated points, I felt what you were saying.
That was a very profound blog concerning the Lucy movie…..it really was. I see that there are a lot of people that feel the same way from looking at the comments. However, talking and blogging will not solve the problem. Olivia had a great point but she still went and paid money to see the movie and all the others that were mentioned. Until we take a stand and hit them where it hurts (pockets) by not going to these films and demanding change, things will stay the same
Touche jawanna24 I agree “we ( the misrepresented and omitted) must take a stand and make a conscious decision not to continue supporting Hollywood”, or any other misguided organizations that deem it ok to widen the chasm between the races. Equally; buffoonery, coonery, step n fetch, bug eyed, joking,singing and dancing (all the dammmmm time), should not be tolerated, or financed just because someone of color wrote the script. @ Olivia Cole I viewed a trailer for Annie and all the characters focused on was her hair……. Really!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is 2014 and I think we (the Black race) have become complacent, arrogant, comfortable, self-centered, egotistical, docile, and of non-effect ( I am pointing at me first).. Soooo where do we go from here?
I was planning to see Lucy this weekend. I will not go now just to take the stand you suggest. It’s true. Hollywood is responsible for whitewashing stories about African Kings, Queens, heroes, sheroes, and villains. It’s like Hollywood producer want to keep all the money in the pockets of white actors. The only solution is to make our own films. However, I have a problem with producers like Tyler Perry, who is the favorite replica of a black woman, when in reality, black women of that stature cannot work at all. Women need to tell their stories. People of color need to tell their stories. And, we must boycott movies that do not represent humanity that is 3/4th people of color. Thanks to Olivia A. Cole for being real about this subject!
Ms. Cole – you hit this persuasive piece out the park and back to the point of your rant! I loved, loved Lucy! As a writer — I have to give kudos to your penmanship and all the detours, twists and turns to rant about racism and the subliminal message depicted, blazing across Hollywood’s screens. Point well made! Nothing beats a good rant but a road map to drive your point home. You have a new follower and I look forward in reading more of your ranting words.
A Sistah ranter!
Yes. I agree, but I don’t get to say the same thing since I am not white. My white friends like to roll their eyes when I say things like this, but it’s true. I am also sick of the dominance of men (in general) in movies as well. That’s why I want to be one of the first Puerto Rican, Lesbian writers/screenwriters to bust all the status quo.
Digna Cole says:
July 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm
I am actually writing to respond t your article dated 07/28/14 which discusses the lack of “color”, or should I say people of color in the movies and on television. Unfortunately, people have sort of adapted to this norm, and simply want to have some avenue of theatre in their lives, so they watch, and they pay for the suttle ,be not so suttle insults that are thrown our way. I do believe, that if people started objecting louder, and not paying for these deletions of our existence, maybe Hollywood may get the hint.
Oliva, you recognize White Supremacy and you are a White Woman. I am thrilled you wrote a blog that pertains to the movie industry and the White Superiority they have established over the general masses. If only a movement could be done to change this nazi idealogy, sign me UP, because the awakening is taking place and it begins when we recognize how WRONG it is from the start! I don’t watch MOVIES or pay to watch them anymore. Until White Supremacy is abolished there is NO USE in spending hard earned money to watch the SAME plot line and SUPERIOR Caucasian race of people protray themselves as more and better than color folk
What does the United States of America, “journalism” and this article all have in common? All things that are going down hill.
Something about your writing style…. I guess you stay true to your description of ranting and raging. I don’t disagree with most of your points in your recent huff post article, just find how you articulate them caustic. I checked your website out bc i was in a mood to read stuff I agree with, had to stop bc of the writing style. I am curious as to why you (and most media) ignore the largest and fastest growing population in the United States? Why do you think media always focuses their discussions of color(or lack thereof) on African Americans vice the Latino/Hispanic population? Again, I agree with the premise there is a lack of both in the media.
If you don’t like movies with “white people ” in them then don’t watch them or better yet don’t pay to watch them. Make your own movie and put people of whatever ethnicity you like in it and watch it. Some people white or black go to the movies for the entertainment not to criticize the fact that that’s not not the right colored person for that role. Oh and I’m not white either in case that’s what you all is thinking
I agree with that kid
Wow, Olivia, I was just talking with a friend about how cinema in America, from Spielberg to Scorcese depict Ebony men as either screaming buck eyed cowards, (2nd Jurasic Park Brown skinned Soldier of fortune/Mercenary encounters Velociraptor and doesn’t shoot at it as others when confronted by T -Rexes etc.), Platoon showing Brown soldier cowardly running away from the fight only to be gutted with a bayonet by the Viet-Cong after running into a tree, and of course, the only reason that things went south , i believe in Goodfellas was because of the only Brown person in the film being lazy and making a mistake, Samuel L. Jackson. I see Brown men and Women potrayed in ways that I have not encountered constantly on television and film. Look at all the gorgeous or attractive White women on Orange is the New Black, and all of the unflattering Brown women, fat, hard featured, with the exception of a Transgendered Brown Man who is attractive and Latina who’s pretty cute.
I could name dozens more scenes and attributes like this of the top of my head. Good post, being aware and open minded is refreshing. I’m sure there are great films with good intentions for Brown people I missed, please let me know their titles so I can enjoy!
What a wonderful article. Brava! I love movies. Especially, the experience of going to a theater. I’ve seen some great movies with all white casts. But I’d love to see more movies like, Love Jones. I actually have no problem with movies like, The Help, or Django, because that is part of our American history, and I’d hate for Hollywood to shy away from that. But, as you mentioned, that’s not all I want to see. It’s interesting, surprising and good to know that others are similarly affected by traditional Hollywood. It never occurred to me to think that someone white might feel this way. I, along with others, am working to change the images we all see and read about. We hope to change Hollywood soon! Thanks for the article. Peace.
BRAVO I LOVE THE WAY YOU ARE OPENING EYES WIDE BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY WIDE SHUT!
I loved your post about white washing Hollywood. Not many white people see the affect it has on our society when Hollywood producers purposely tell history wrong
Yeah, but she can’t see Asian people or Egyptian.
It’s a true talent when some can spot there are only two African Americans in a film.
Cole’s observations are lazy and speculative.
People need to ask themselves: what does diversity mean?
The movie (which I thought was stupid) was shot in Taipei and France.
The majority of the actors are Asian. Some were French-Asian (one of the actors is a famous Asian French comedian). The male protagonist lead is Morgan Freeman. A male protagonist costar is Egyptian. Scarlet Johansson is our white woman lead.
The male bad guys are either Korean, Chinese, Irish or French. There is a white American douch bag who sets Scarlet Jo up.
Overall, this movie is pretty international and extremely diverse.
So, if the argument is “I’m tired of seeing white people”, what is the definition of white people?
Is what we’re really arguing is “why aren’t there more African American leads actors” THAT IS A LEGITIMATE ARGUMENT!
But if you’re going to BLATANTLY ignore Morgan Freeman and international star Choi Min-sik, why is anyone crying?
You don’t see Asians and you don’t see Freeman.
Cole confuses her Asian cultures and countries – but THAT’S SOMEHOW OK? Cause what, Asians don’t matter???
So REALLY, who on this page cares deeply about diversity?
If all you care about is seeing more black people in lead roles in Hollywood I AM WITH YOU 100%!!!
But if you’re personally compelled to go to silly Hollywood movie hoping someone is gonna hand you black people, you truly are a non supportive African American. Truly.
Support black film makers. Spend your money on black film makers. Educate yourself on black artists.
And if you TRULY care about DIVERSITY, watch Swedish, Indian, Korean, Nigerian and Caribbean films.
They actually exist. They aren’t on fricking Mars.
Cole hasn’t missed anything. Your own counter-argument is exactly the problem.
First, let’s be clear on something: we don’t need you to tell us what it means to be a supportive African American. Your approval does not validate us or our positions.
“If all you care about is seeing more black people in lead roles in Hollywood I AM WITH YOU 100%!!!”
Great, but that’s NOT all we care about. Believe it or not, people who care about the representation of people of color in Hollywood can have more than one reason for doing so, and want to see more than one change take place.
America is a diverse place. If I support diversity, I should be able to watch an American film and see diversity as commonplace. Because that’s how it is. I shouldn’t have to watch Swedish and French and Indian and Korean and Caribbean films to see diversity when all of those ethnic groups are already present in my own country. GOOD FOR YOU for seeing all of those international films. Here’s your Medal and Certificate of Global Cinematic Viewership. Now, let’s turn our attentions back to our own country’s films, shall we?
“Support black film makers,” you say. We already do (generally speaking), a LOT. That’s how Tyler Perry – who you cite as a singular example of what POC should aspire towards – got to where he is. But Tyler Perry only represents a fraction of the voices of POC.
Frankly, I resent the implication of your position. So, if I’m not supporting Tyler Perry, I’m obviously not supportive of Black Filmmaking? I don’t want to feel obligated to support Perry because he’s a POC; I want the freedom to support him, or not support him, based on the quality of his films. The way it’s supposed to be.
“But if you’re personally compelled to go to silly Hollywood movie hoping someone is gonna hand you black people, you truly are a non supportive African American. Truly.”
That’s a ridiculous statement in every direction. If I’m paying money to see a movie, why SHOULDN’T I expect to see POC represented in some way, shape or form? Especially when the vast majority of Hollywood films gloss over the existence of POC, or diminish POC by the types of roles they are presented with? Why should my expectations be different just because a movie is “silly”?
“Hand [you] black people.” Hand us what now?!? We’re right here. RIGHT HERE. Put us in films in decent roles. *waves hands* We’re RIGHT HERE.
Yes, Cole is aware that Morgan Freeman co-stars in the film. We all are. We are also aware that he is one person in a film populated by more than one person. You posit, “Look, we have a black person in this film. Morgan Freeman. What about him? He’s black! What’s the problem?” We respond…
“Don’t be stupid.”
We want to see more POC in more Hollywood films in roles that aren’t solely subserviant for a very simple reason…
We actually exist. We aren’t on fricking Mars.
This isn’t a hard problem to fix.
But it IS a problem.
Olivia, I liked your article! This is something that has been going on for a long time and will continue. I wanted to add something that I read recently for a class. http://firstborngirl.blogspot.com/2009/11/what-white-publishers-wont-print-zora.html
As a film maker, I am encouraged by your observation. Thank you for voicing it. I am a woman of mixed heritage and a movie buff. I can’t stand the way that Hollywood depicts it’s stories. My debut movie is Future Shift and it is strongly multi-cultural and my upcoming movie is again multicultural. I don’t think anyone lives in a mono toned world but again those with the privilege of having the right skin tone mistakenly think it is talent alone that gives them their chance at success. It is both talent and skin tone unfortunately. In case you are interested in supporting Indie movies, fighting the Hollywood stereo type you can find it here. http://futureshift-themovie.com/
[I’m tired of seeing white people on the big screen]—the producers make the movies which fit their version of the world, thus the more producers of color the more accurately we will be represented. Our overlords in banking are overwhelmingly white, racist and sadistic. That will not change any more than the Zionists will tolerate Gaza. Success is the best revenge.
PS ‘Anthro major in high school’ is pretentious BS.
My full length rebuttal. http://gingerfires.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/white-privilege-said-what/
The problem I have with this author is her extreme lack of African American cinema knowledge, lack of foreign film knowledge and basic lack of American film knowledge – yet, has an international forum to rant as an expert.
She confuses Taiwan for China, which makes me feel she never saw this movie.
She fails to praise actor Choi Min-sik, who if she had any value for real diversity, would recognize Choi is a Korean actor, who is an international star, but in her mind he’s invisible.
She is invisible to the Egyptian actors, and Egypt is a country in Africa if anyone has forgotten.
She could have supported her arguments DEEPER by recognizing how Spike Lee chose Josh Brolin for in the American remake of Oldboy – but she probably can’t tie these facts together because she sees Asian as invisible and Choi Min-sik originated that role. Like, he’s fricking famous- but if Asian people are invisible to you, you wouldn’t know that.
She can’t praise Morgan Freeman, because I guess he’s too mainstream.
So, if Cole’s argument is Hollywood doesn’t include diversity in their films (which I could make a heck of a stronger case for), she FAILS in her arguments because she HERSELF only can differentiate diversity based on “I only see one black person”. There is MORE to diversity than just one race.
Has Cole ever been to Taipei? Asians, hands down, are the number 1 race.
And many people are praising Cole as some white champion when she has literally zero knowledge on African American cinema. How insulting to black filmmakers who have been at the filmmaking process for DECADES. How dare any of you praise someone who’s knowledge of African American cinema is a big ZERO.
And those of you praising Cole – do you really want diversity spoon fed to you? Are you supporting black artists? Are you praising the likes of Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes, John Singleton and Lee Daniels or are you sitting back in laziness JUDGING them?
Do you know who writer Marcus Gardley is? Do you know who Lizan Mitchell is? Cause if you do, that means you’ve gone in DEEP to the black experience – if you don’t, then EDUCATE YOURSELVES.
Is your remedy for African American salvation in Hollywood a remake called ANNIE???
This is what modern activism is?
Y’all are fools!
If the argument is “why are white actors picked by default”, by all means, everyone has a legitimate argument.
But if your argument is “there was no diversity in Lucy”, guess what, you’re 100% wrong.
Lucy didn’t BECOME blonde in the movie. She didn’t EVOLVE into whiteness.
You’re argument about tribal people in movies being depicted as darker… Honey, have you read a book? Tribal people typically have always been darker – go to Ecuador or the Philippines – compare the city dwellers to the natives in the jungle. Do you travel? Do you read? Wtf
If your argument is you’re tired of seeing white people as the saviors in movies, yes, you have an argument!
But if you saw the movie you wouldn’t have confused CHINA for TAIWAN and you would have recognized LUCY was a dumb white girl!
So, you either saw the movie or didn’t. You either know Asian actors names or you don’t.
Our was this article written to gather followers? Apparently it works. White girl with zero knowledge on black cinema rants and saves the day.
You can frame your argument to gather tweets or followers, but you, my friend, are the poster child for white privilege…
You don’t apologize for your mistakes and you hid behind an international publication without the proper credentials to commentate on popular culture and get a paycheck.
That’s called white privilege. Congratulations on being your own Scarlett Johansson.
I guess GETTING REAL is considered TROLLING these days.
Yes just rants! Her rants! I think Cole did a hell of a job writing this persuasive piece whether from your perspective of knowledge that she hit the “all seeing — all knowing — I know it all about movies” I really don’t think that was her point. I think you missed it while tearing her down and getting off on you egotistical rant of I know it all.
As a writer (published a few genres and always get editors responses from my submissions) having worked with other published writers, a good title goes a long way.
Lucy for a title was clever — no brilliant! Who’d thought that Mitochrondrial Eve would be a big part of Cole’s argument — clever, and especially clever from my 30 years of genealogy research expertise. By the way, I embrace Dr. Spencer Well’s, Nat Geo & IBM’s genealogy research on where mankind came from, East Africa (did I lose you, cough, cough) – Cole has a valid point. And so I think you missed and perhaps got caught up in the blonde hair. Anyway, here’s another point that Hollywood embraces but she didn’t touch on and this was brought to my attention by an actor — that all the leading ladies are rail thin and boyish — BUT Cole didn’t touch on that, but she could have. Anyway, I think you missed the boat, space ship — POINT of her rant!
AND — from an artist’s perspective (I am) — she had foreground, mid ground and back ground charisma which kept the reader engaged pulling us through all the twists, turns and detoured pit stops. Lucy tied that thing in a neat little bow and brought it full circle – dude!
I hate rip up crits — can’t say something constructive – don’t say anything at all!
Sorry, but I totally disagree with you and what did you say you did or did you?
If u must know my job, which is irrelevant, I help manage a foundation that helps raise money for activist groups that fight oil companies trying to throw indigenous people off there lands in the Amazon.
Interesting, I have heard lots of African American (Blacks) talk about being tired of seeing the slaves, maids, the typical genres they are typecasted in, anything other then what is in the movies today though i will say we have evolved: Samuel L. Jackson, Halie Berry, Denzel Washington, the front runnner and list continues…folks had a fit when Tarantino’s Django Unchain hit the theatre (dear Lawd!) not a Black Cowboy who saves his woman (a somewhat historical fact) — no, no no! But anyway, being one who detest racist, ism, scism issues of today — I welcome the dialogue. In fact, I am writing a book on racism, what it is, how to recognize it and how to destroy or at least expose it so we are freed from the pit traps…
Being one who has been involved in diversity conferences, facilitated and presented workshops (with one in the oven) I find the only way to address racism and diversity is to hit it head on by pulling folks up right there on the spot when they spew ignorance, but I do so in an nonviolent way with a question, or two. Their response most times are enraged with more ignorance or they get mad and walk away spewing ugliness.
You see most people don’t want to be confront about racism or much less diversity when we all are a mixed bag of ethnicities. Anyway, I think Cole has hit some very interesting topics without going deep in but skimming the surface for her rant on why her chosen title. i love the double play on words…
What she does do is invite us in to explore dialogue, and on that note, my artist intuition is peaked and I see depth in Besson’s Lucy in a very dimensional way. I thrive on interpreting the old great painters’ symbolic works of art and have done well in seeing beyond their painted canvas deep into their lives. That gift is peaked by Lucy. I’ll be back with an expanded interpretation of LUCY.
Cole has opened the door to dialogue about racism. She’s got your attention!
Last, I applaud your activists ventures on multiple levels, the other things I do…
And btw, I’m not going to argue with you because I like your living room. It looks like an introspective gallery. The paintings are lovely. If you’d like to tear me a new one, that’s fine by me. There are some people that even if I don’t agree with them, and even if they aren’t seeing my point of view, I’ll gladly open the door for.
This whole type of “activism” is legit just like people being against vaccines. There is a ton of research out there and history that supports it but these people rather follow the advice of a celebrity. It is the same type of ignorance. It just disgusts me. They don’t see that they are actually perpetuating these problems that they are “trying to fix” LOL.
I know how I’ll fix racism against black people!!! I’ll be racist against white people!! GENIUS. It will work because I’m immune to being called a racist! WOW
I know how I’ll fix sexism! I’ll attack every man that has an opinion! That will fix the problem! Yay!!!
I know how I’ll protect my child from getting sick! I won’t get them vaccinated! Vaccines give children illnesses, they are bad! Thank goodness Mrs. Silverstone pointed me in the right direction! Doctors are so EVIL!
Total fucking buffoonery.
Your blog about inequality in Hollywood was a littke off to me. It seemed like you wrote it without even watching Lucy. In the end when she achieves 100% she ascends into full enlightenment and her physical body dissappears. Only then when she herself did not physically exist was she ultimately superior. A blonde hair blue eyed woman was cast for the role because that is who us, society, would expect to be in that position. The director didn’t say, “she has to appear superior, make her blonde hair and blue eyed!” He said, “She has to appear naive”
Life’s too short to be a victim.
You’re on the mark totally but a blonde blue-eyed woman was cast as the lead, but originally, Angelia Jolie was cast in the lead… and she dyes her hair brunette and has hazel eyes.
We are guessing at what the director wanted. You’re going out on a limb on that one.
I am an aspiring writer and photographer all the way from South Africa… Your work and your heart-felt words have crossed many borders and finally landed here. Your honesty has opened minds… Thank you so much for inspiring me =)
It’s easy to “hate seeing white women” on the big screen when you’re a poet, activist, and general all-around political correctness mechanic. That is someone whose only place and purpose in the universe is to sit in front of a plastic keyboard and type out self-serving nonsense for a ‘living’.
It’s a little more difficult when you are responsible for the $150,000,000 or so that has been invested in this (or any film production of this magnitude). And knowing that if you don’t bring in about $150,000,000 worth of ticket sales, DVD rentals, and a myriad of other entertainment industry income from this one piece of product, you don’t work again.
So you check numbers, or rather, your studio that is guiding the project checks the numbers. And the numbers show that a film production of this type of story, using this level of CGI, involving this general narrative framework, with the various persona of the project’s protagonists of this genre, will break even for $150,000,000 if you hire an A-level white woman star as your lead character, specifically Scarlett Johansen for a Summer 2014 projected release date.
So you do, and you make your film. This is a film by Luc Besson, who is the only French director left in 2014 with any global credibility as an exciting (i.e. commercially responsible) big-budget filmmaker.
But that’s just me, Here, you decide. So take the Besson challenge.
First rent, borrow, or download a selection of Luc Besson’s work. Here’s a start of stuff that won’t be too hard to find in the USA:
3 Days to Kill (screenplay) / (story)
Taken 2 (based on characters created by) / (written by)
Transporter 2 (characters) / (written by)
The Transporter (written by)
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (written by)
The Fifth Element (screenplay) / (story)
Léon: The Professional
La Femme Nikita
Then get a selection of the works of this Olivia Cole person. She’s soon to publish her first book so all you got is the HuffingtonPost diatribes.
See who’s oeuvre is more entertaining, insightful, and thoughtful for your everyday life.
Dear Ms. Cole
Thank-you! Thank-you for your article and thank-you for speaking up for me. I say FOR ME, because I am first a black woman, second a black woman who is an actress and third and black woman who would have never have believed that a whit woman would say such things publicly.
I am going to share an opinion that may seem out of the box, but I that’s me. I agree that there are not enough examples of me on the screen and when I do see the representation, the scope of what people portray that we have gone through is so small, and we sometimes even do it to ourselves. I would like to see “us” do more than pick cotton, clean houses, get divorced or our men being unfaithful or not there for us for that matter and more than that when a chance is taken on our stories beyond that the lightest skinned actress is found so they can say she’s still black, ie The movie made or being made about Nina Simone.
I didn’t mean to take up your time reading this, but I am thankful for Shonda Rhimes and how she is beginning to use people like Viola Davis who in the past would not have played a law professor, but someone in trouble with the law. I thank you again.
With great respect
Shonda L. Thurman
Thank you for your fresh perspective on that article regarding Lucy… There is nothing like speaking “TRUTH” to FALSEHOOD & FALSE, forced perceptions… Bravo!~
Beautifully written thoughts here http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5627318?utm_hp_ref=hollywood it’s absolutely perfect. Keep going…
This article encompasses my whole motivation for being a writer and my passion to be a movie and TV producer. I have been so tired of not seeing a representation of me on many of my favorite shows. I’m a lover of One Tree Hill but there were no black girls in the main cast. Not that, that’s a problem but there should be a balance. There should be shows and movies that show black women and men in a positive light, not stereotypical. I got so tired of going to Barnes and Noble trying to find books with strong black characters that I started writing them myself. My view is that we as black people should stop waiting for Hollywood to make roles for us. We should make them for ourselves. That’s what I plan on doing. I plan on writing books, making movies and TV shows that break stereotypical beliefs. I want to stop people from gasping when they learn that my black parents are still married and went to college. That at twenty-seven I don’t have a baby and that my male cousins went to college, never been to prison and don’t have a line a babies. These are the black lives I’m writing about, normal black lives, not hyper-sensationalized and stereotypical. For some of those stories check out my blog peppermint-sunshine.com
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