It is a beautiful thing to go online and find movies and tv shows that promote diversity especially ones that celebrate any other race that is not Caucasian. See I just finished watching Netflix’s The Harder They Fall. I mean talk about strong black leads; Idris Elba, Regina King, Jonathan Majors, Lakeith Stanfield and all the other gorgeous melanin drop-dead actors. I will save my opinion on the storyline although a western movie with guns and bloodshed (my kind of thing) with only black actors is quite the movie. However, I was more enamoured by the black representation.
This exhilarating feeling I am in after watching The Harder They Fall reminds me of when I watched Malorie Blackman’s BBC adapted Noughts and Crosses. The nitty-gritty details about the dystopian tv show is a different subject altogether. Yet, I remember binging that show partly because of the storyline; Africans invading and colonizing Europe sprinkled with a bit of forbidden interracial romance. Nevertheless, I also binged the show because it showcased strong black leads. I deliberately skipped mentioning MCU’s Black Panther, the cultural gamechanger for casting Black people. However, Black Panther to me was more of an appeasement because I genuinely feel the storyline was lacking depth and it was more of a cliche albeit the Dora Milaje who were simply divine. In fact, I will start a petition to get them more screen time in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
See growing up, my father had stacks of American movies and wrestling in VHS. When we got DSTV circa 2004, MNET and CNN was the order of the day; Christain Amanpour needs to know she is a beloved figure to my mother. My point is, growing up I watched too many movies but the catch was no one looked like me on TV. Don’t get me wrong, we watched tons of Nollywood movies (OG Genevieve Nnaji had my heart), however, Hollywood was dominated by white actors and over the years the silent/indirect impact of this was, Caucasians were superior. I believe the American soft power was at work; guns did the talking in the middle east to establish presence while Hollywood/American entertainers dominated our psyche. I know, that is a sweeping statement and not a good comparison yet both scenarios have the same outcome for America precisely, maintaining the superiority of the “white” population in the USA. This article may seem disapproving towards American Caucasians but I can only speak to what I was exposed to.
Now, fast forward to me going to the university and taking up journalism as a major. That was the game-changer for me. I started asking questions and my professors were more than happy to supply me with materials to fully understand why African Americans or Africans were rarely cast as lead actors. Why the Academy Awards were dominated by Caucasians? I mean #OscarsSoWhite is a thing! It is interesting to note that my curiosity about the lack of inclusion of precisely black/African people in Hollywood movies coincided with the socio-political outcry of the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeTooMovement. This meant I was almost always seeing content about the discontentment of black and POCs.
Anyways, as a young Muslim woman from Nigeria, I will not claim I understand the plight of black people in the West; racial abuse, the politicization of police brutality against black men and women or the socio-economic exclusion of black and POCs. I mean in Nigeria we have our own problems, however, movies and series that promote diversity and appreciate the many shades, the human race come in, will always be one to watch for me. That being said, the global movie industry is in dire need of better storylines. I am tired of the cliches on my TV.
Comments and criticism are most welcome. Writing my innermost thoughts and opinions on things gives me joy and I feel a sense of accomplishment. That being said, I am still trying to figure out what type of writer I am and if I am any good so once again, comments and criticism are highly welcome.