So I screened “Gravity” earlier this week. Yes, I thought the cinematography was excellent and yes it definitely delivered on the thrills and chills. But no, I did not have a “come to Jesus” moment like most and no, it certainly did not change my life. I credit that partly to Sandra Bullock, who is a fine actress but will never make my top 5 list of Hollywood actresses (the jury is still out about that “Blind Side” Oscar win). She did a fine job and I’ll leave it at that.
Part of my indifference to “Gravity” is the total lack of vision in diversity. The whole time I was watching the film, I thought of at least four or five different actresses of color who could have rocked that role better than Bullock. Same for George Clooney (I totally saw Don Cheadle in that role.) I really do not understand why we are being presented with these archaic, lily-White type of sci-fi movies. It is not an accurate reflection of the world today, especially since experts have predicted the U.S. will be predominantly “browner” by 2050.
The root of science fiction was founded in erasure – futuristic White Utopias without the peskiness of colored people. And being a woman of color who loves science fiction as much as I do, that presents an almost cognitive dissonance. How could I embrace a future that I was clearly being shut out of?
I am so grateful for visionaries like Gene Rodenberry who went against the grain and fought for a more inclusive vision of humanity. You have no idea what it did for a little Black girl in Brooklyn to see Nichelle Nichols every night watching “Star Trek” re-runs.
We have been presented with wonderfully diverse casts in movies like “The Matrix,” “Sunshine,””Inception” and “AVP” which made film history with Sanaa Lathan being the first African-American actress to lead a big budget sci-film (and survive)! How many actresses of color have been the lead in Hollywood sci-films since then?
Communities of color, LGBTQ and the differently-abled need to speak with their pocketbooks. When you are not represented in films, what do you think the filmmakers and Hollywood are really saying about YOU?
ReBecca Theodore-Vachon is the Film/TV Editor For The Urban Daily. Follow her on Twitter: @FilmFatale_NYC
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