Standing in front of the magazine section at my local market which I think has an impressive selection in terms of volume. Looking at it I would say there was maybe 150 titles. On two magazine covers there was a Latina (Vanity Fair with Penelope Cruz) and another magazine. There were three with African Americans on their covers. Distressingly one woman on (Oxygen) had blue contacts or very Anglo looking features so it was not really representing. She may naturally have that weird color blue as an eye shade but I think not. Also her other features didn't support the mutation. It is a mutation or genetic anomaly to have that color with that skin tone and that hair. A teen magazine had a child a young girl who was African American and then Oprah's mag. The rest were the same movie television people we have been seeing for the last five years and the rest...pretty bad representation. I didn't factor in the African American publications,in my area which is predominantly white New Hampshire,they don't order what probably would not sell. Why is everything separate? It doesn't challenge identity if one has a story about a person who happens to be Asian or Latino or African American in say Vanity Fair? Why Graydon Carter don't you feature more diverse stars on your covers?
Oh wait,there are not that many ethinic stars to grace your covers.
Why can't media be diverse?
I just auditioned for a small role in a small series for Canadian television and did not get the role.I was thrilled to audition. Whoo hoo... There were many factors as to why I didn't book the job, money (none) age (not old looking enough too glam) but what got me, what really bugged me, is why can't I have a show of my own? Here was an unknown woman with mediocre looks starring in a series about a spy. Nothing new and nothing spectacular but a network was giving her a shot? I am known and have chops and can carry my own against the best of them...Why am auditioning for 3rd lead role? I don't get it? The roles I have seen lately for my "Age" it's the typical BBW who is "The boss". I never get those parts. Honestly that's what is out there and it's so sad. Where are the series about being a congress woman , professors, senators, corporate owners and CEO's just to name a few roles that we woman of color and age do? Where are those stories? Hot sisters who are over forty who are so beautiful interesting and not in a rush to settle down? Where are those stories? The homemaker who is dealing with trying to further herself while juggling her family and it's pressures who is African American? Where is her story?
Personally I have two really good idea's for series, both are excellent. They are not too wild ,not too far fetched. Why aren't they being considered? I have had two series which did good numbers. I am famous. I look good for almost 50! So where is my pilot? It was a simple role the "administrator" what kills me after years of being in this business is that the face of smart strong and intelligent woman of color in lead roles is pretty much non existent. We take the lack of presence as normal because after 1995 it is. So for the last 12 years we have been systematically pushed back in terms of racial diversity in media to pre-1960's if not 1950's. No one is there fighting the good fight. These paid groups that are supposed to represent us and the issues are just that paid to keep quiet they are flaccid. I am on the front lines of this issue and it is a stinging almost soul killing battle or so it seems. I have met (Nina Tassler for one) smart intelligent and maybe socially segregated people meaning they don't know "us" in a relaxed or intimate way "Us" being African Americans who are educated and normal. These heads of networks refuse to budge and they warn producers off. Instead retreading the same 5 faces or their clones and the same retread stories. More Cop shows starring a lawyer who will moonlight as a nurse as she does double time as a CSI,or similar
shows and their clones. This is television today and the movies are no better. I have written about this ad nausea and I am sick of it. I am sad that I get excited at nearly fifty when a role that has some potential goes my way. I get sad when I realize that it wasn't always like this and there were more opportunities for woman of substance. I don't know about you but I like seeing woman of a certain vintage do stuff on screen I feel comfort and safety and I dig into my chair knowing that I am going to experience something interesting not some vacuous face that has no life in it where all I can think of is how pretty she is and how too old he is to be her love interest. It's gutting to think that only non ethnic people are interesting in media. I watched the Emmies this year and if you looked at the audience it was the opposite of diversity,it was a sea of white faces. Is this South Africa during Apartheid? It sure looks like it. I am sad about this, it isn't financial,it is a culture white wash and it is an ageist wash as well. We who don't have those hangups deserve better representation in all media and I for one think we need to be better organized as a group not just racially but age wise, we are boomers. We need to call for a ban on all media until the pre 1995 diversity laws are reinstated.
That is a start. Rupert Murdock be damned. It is time to force media to grow up and get smarter. They deserve the giant exodus main stream is doing as far as television goes...the paradigm has shifted and I for one want better programming that is reflective of life now in America. I know Madmen is a popular show but that was a dark period in an African Americans life and I for one am sad that it is on the air and although it is fair to have programming for the majority. I being the minority want equal time too. Especially as a performer. It isn't for lack of good or great
material its there. There are lots of well written stories out there dying to be bought and produced. No,this is pure segregation, racism and ageism. It is LACK of consciousness. Hollywood like the USDA with the entrenched buddy system is
shutting out people who are a success and smart and ethnic, performers like me.
I am not alone...there are a lot of us out there. Dying to play and share and communicate.
Instead if you are slightly inarticulate and crazy or wildly inappropriate or down right embarrassing and ethnic you can get a show...Wendy Williams, I love NY or even the housewives of Atlanta and Tyler Perry. Realistically they do not represent the entire spectrum of African American life!In fact it's a narrow spectrum almost singular. There is so much more to us as group. Imagine if rednecks where the only type being represented in media. Please!
I need support and solidarity here. Yes,it's time we do something that works and has effect. In the age of enlightenment which this time could be called if we work hard enough.
We need to crack open and demand a share of the opportunity for those of us of ethnicity and age in starring and substantive material. Why not?
It heals the world.