State Side: Gabrielle Union on black women having to shuck and Jive in comedies
In the past there have been various black actors who have been controversially vocal about their poorly positioned state in the industry as a black person and the roles they’re casted. Do you remember Labour politician Chuka Umunna calling on Britain’s film and television industry back in 2013 to put a stop to ethnic lazy stereotyping? Well this was and is still continuing to cause black actors to leave the UK for a promising Hollywood career.
A new name is to be added to that list, Gabrielle Union. Yes state side, Union had been doing her rounds of promotion for the new season of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” when she visited “The Angie Martinez Show” on Power 105.1 in New York City. In the one to one chit chat she discussed how she is happy to finally see “diversity on TV where people will actually tune in and it’s good for television to have people represented”. This in regards to “Scandal”, “Being Mary Jane”, “Empire”, and “Black-ish”, shows that have all been doing statistically well, lead by black actors.
The conversation soon turned to comedy though as it was mentioned that Chris Rock compared her comedic skills to comedian Tina Fey. However Union made it clear that she has no intentions on sharing her skills in the comedy department.
Her reason being, that black actresses don’t get offered roles in smart comedies unlike white actresses; instead they get offered stereotyped, low brow roles. “They want us shucking and jiving and cooning, that’s where they’re most comfortable having a black woman”. She continued by saying that “to get a role like Tina Fey smart, edgy, more cerebral humour… no they’re going to get Tina Fey. They’re going to get Amy Poehler, they’re going to get Rashida Jones… that crew”. To add she also joked about having to get invited to actor and comedian Judd Apatows house, in order to get a comedy role with smart substance.
She has a valid point, what do you think? Smart comedies where you at?
– Roxanne McKenzie