I have always been fascinated with Black Hollywood because I believe things are run differently. Opportunities do not always come the same to people of color, so we are always breaking new barriers. Rarely is it ever just a job opportunity for people of color. One thing I have noticed that we are lacking is mediocrity.
Now some people may think that is a good thing, however, mediocrity or the freedom to be mediocre is a sign of progress. Because we have to break so many barriers and open doors that were once locked to us, we do not have the freedom to just create. Those who are freely creating often get pushed to the side.
For success in Black Hollywood, you never hear stories of overnight success. We only acknowledge their accomplishments when they are operating as their best selves or full potential. When I think of White Hollywood, I find they are not only given success but room to grow.
It seems as if everyone has to strive to be the next Denzel Washington, Viola Davis or Chadwick Boseman to get a chance. Nothing is wrong with this, but what about the actresses and actors who just want to work? What about the actors who just love the craft and who are not competing to be the best?
There should be a place for both actors and actresses. However, because of the lack of representation, there is a bigger push for excellence. In return, we gatekeep jobs and roles from other actors and actresses in our community. It makes me wonder why do we open the doors, if we only allow certain people to enter?
I know as a Black American, it is important to see ourselves in roles like: superheroes, doctors, presidents and in biopics. We also deserve to see ourselves in roles that represent everyday life. One person I think who does a good job of providing these types of opportunities and roles is Tyler Perry.
Although, we need more than just Tyler Perry, Kenya Barris and Issa Rae to be creating these opportunities. Now I do think the sitcoms in the ‘90s did a great job at creating these types of opportunities, however we also did not see us in huge roles like “Black Panther” in those times either.
Why can’t we have both? I would love to see the actors and actresses who want to be in sitcoms, and the actors who want to chase the Oscars. I do not just blame Hollywood as a whole, but I think Black Hollywood puts so much pressure on themselves to be excellent and not fall into stereotypes that we sometimes block the doors that have been opened for us.
I love that we have a certain standard for movies and television shows that we create. I am also not saying to lower that standard, but not everything needs to be created for the sole purpose of winning an Emmy or Oscar.
We have so much pressure on our community to be the best that we do not have breathing room. This tense culture only allows room for a few people to enter into Black Hollywood at a time. Because of that, we are often stuck with the same big names over a long period of time.
I am also not saying that being allowed the space of being mediocre means lacking talent. By mediocre, I mean being allowed to make mistakes, experiment with your roles and career and not having to start off at your full potential. We deserve room to grow and the space to create..