Chris Rock sounds off on race in Hollywood: ‘It’s a white industry’
The ‘Top Five’ actor penned an essay published Wednesday in The Hollywood Reporter discussing African-Americans’ treatment by the film industry, including his own experiences. He also said that Mexican-Americans are treated worse than black people, writing that ‘there’s just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A.’
By Kirthana Ramisett
Chris Rock has written a candid and bleakly funny essay about his experience in Hollywood.
The “Top Five” actor, writer and director offered his point of view in navigating the movie industry in an essay published Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter — and he doesn’t hold back in describing its treatment of minorities.
In the essay, Rock discussed how he often offers advice to other black performers because he was similarly helped in his career by stars such as Eddie Murphy and Keenan Wayans.
“I’d do the same for a young white guy, but here’s the difference: someone’s going to help the white guy,” the star pointed out. “The people whom I’ve tried to help, I’m not sure anybody was going to help them.”
Rock revealed that he got new “SNL” cast member Leslie Jones an audition with the show’s producer, Lorne Michaels. He said that he strived to assist younger stars because “there aren’t that many black people to turn to.”
“It’s a white industry,” Rock added. “I’m not even saying it’s a bad thing. It just is.”
As examples, the comedian notes how there are no major black film executives, agents or producers. He also said that when it came to casting the lead female role in season 2 of “True Detective,” there were no black actresses said to be up for the role, which went to Rachel McAdams.
“I didn’t hear one black girl’s name on those lists,” Rock wrote. “Not one.
“Literally everyone in town was up for that part, unless you were black. And I haven’t read the script, but something tells me if Gabrielle Union were Colin Farrell’s wife, it wouldn’t change a thing.”
Rock also points out that while black people struggle to find roles and have little representation at movie studios, Mexican-Americans are treated even worse.
“It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s a part of it that’s kind of racist — not racist like ‘F--- you, n----’ racist, but just an acceptance that there’s a slave state in L.A,” the 49-year-old wrote.
“There’s this acceptance that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
But the “Top Five” actor says he finds there has been some progress in terms of the expanded opportunities for black actors and filmmakers, citing a skit he did when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” last month, in which he played a father who disapproves of his daughter’s Internet show.
“Twenty years ago when I was on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ anything with black people on the show had to deal with race, and that sketch we did didn’t have anything to do with race,” he wrote. “That was the beauty: the sketch is funny because it’s funny, and that’s the progress.”
“And there are black guys who are making it: whatever Kevin Hart wants to do right now, he can do; I think (‘12 Years a Slave’ actor) Chiwetel Ejiofor is a really respected actor who is getting a lot of great shots just because he’s really good; if (‘12 Years a Slave’ director) Steve McQueen wants to direct a Marvel movie, they would salivate to get him.
“Change just takes time,” he added.