NAACP blasts Hollywood for lack of meaningful roles for blacks

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

''I want to work!''

George Stanford Brown speaking. He is a black movie star, best known for roles on television, son of Chicken George in ''Roots,'' one of the ''Rookies,'' and guest shots on various dramas.

''Last year there was only one starring role for a black woman out of 240 motion pictures credited to the major Hollywood studios in 1981!''

Recommended: Black History Month: Five major events and figures

And Lynn Moody, film wife to Brown in ''Roots,'' did not get it. And she says , ''I want a job! I trained to become an actress.''

Similar statements came from other black Hollywood personalities this week at the 73rd national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Boston.

There are few jobs for blacks in the film industry, before the camera or behind the scenes, a special Hollywood film task force reported to delegates.

''Jobs are a dire need - unemployment is 60 percent among white actors and nearly 90 percent among blacks - but they are not the basic issue,'' says Paul Brock, a member of the task force. ''The image of blacks screened to the world is vastly more important. Blacks are almost being filmed out of existence.''

Curtis Rogers, NAACP assistant general counsel in charge of the Hollywood issue, lists three options:

* Continue task force negotiations with the movie industry. The task force has met twice this year with the Motion Picture Association of America and with heads of the nine major studios.

* Visit television network and film producing officials. ''We have not talked to them at all, and they make films for TV.''

* Break off negotiations and begin a ''selective buying'' campaign. It is suggested that such a boycotting action would be directed toward ''white listed'' films that featured no black character. This step appears unlikely at this time.

Goals of the NAACP effort, says Mr. Rogers, are to encourage Hollywood to utilize black actors on the screen in ''real-life roles'' beyond those of maids, servants, or clowns and to have studios hire black directors, producers, technicians, cameramen, and others.

Of 240 movies made for Hollywood studios in 1981 only 12 offered major starring roles to black men, and only one starred a black woman, says Mr. Rogers. More than 40 full-length features showed no black people.

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...