Anthony Mackie: African Americans in Film Need to Tell Their Own Stories

March 3rd, 2011, by

Photo by: Van Evers, TS Media, Inc.
Photo by: Van Evers, TS Media, Inc.

When Forest Whitaker appeared on the show recently, he addressed a piece in the The New York Times entitled “Hollywood’s Whiteout,” about the absence of Black artists in the 2011 Oscar nominee class. Whitaker admitted that while there was a “paradigm shift” in the industry where Blacks are concerned, African Americans are by no means at a “destination point” with regard to their presence on screen.

Even though this year’s Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone, the “Whiteout” conversation isn’t over yet.

Tonight, Tavis sits down with actor Anthony Mackie of The Hurt Locker and Million Dollar Baby fame, who argues that African American artists need to create their own film projects.

“This is a business,” Mackie says. “Let’s be smart about our business.” Later he adds, “If we don’t tell those stories, then we can’t expect someone else to tell them for us.”

Watch the clip below, where the actor discusses the business side of filmmaking and explains why he feels African Americans in film have been “lazy” on their game, and tune in tonight for the full conversation.

Also, be sure to share your thoughts. Are African American artists to blame when they’re not in Oscar contention? Are they “lazy” on their game or being shut out?

  • Mocha

    I’m curious as to why even “Black Hollywood” producers won’t accept manuscripts or solicitations from Black writers who are NOT IN Hollywood. I mean if they want to keep it real, start doing what others do and give Black writers a chance…even those who aren’t in L.A., New York or Atlanta?! Some of us have some great stories to tell and “White” producers have shown interest…where are the Black producers? I’m just sayin’

  • Sharon D. Johnson

    There are layers of factors involved. Securing money isn’t the easiest thing to do, even with many of our African American figures in solid positions to finance projects. Also, what we don’t need is a proliferation of poorly conceived and executed projects (because everyone glamorizes the role of the director, the necessary role of the writer goes unaddressed. Good writing is lacking, especially where less conscientious artists are concerned. The egoic need to “make a film” often means rushing the writing of the script, and/or not being honest about one’s readiness to write.) Overall, however, I would say there is malaise, not laziness (two different things). The often man-made obstacles and hoops along a writer/creator’s path to finishing a product (script, film, book, whatever) leads to exhaustion, which leads to withdrawal of energy, which leads to non-productiveness and lack of effort.

  • Celeste Duckworth

    I agree with the ideal that we need to be making movies I know a lot of young authors, filmmakers, film students that have great ideals but cannot get into the industry or get financing or grant money to fund projects. As an author I can find lots of grants for many other project but not for film projects I go to other Film Studios owned by Black Americans to ask how we can find projects that fund we are left doing the promotions and trying to get people to donate to a project….
    What is the answer?
    So many great stories out there.

Last modified: April 26, 2011 at 11:16 am