Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Colored People in Outer Space!

Ok, so on the plane ride home from Spain, I finally got a chance to watch all of the sci-fi flicks I'd been meaning to see but never got around to, like Wolverine and Star Trek. I watched both of these films, back to back and enjoyed each one for different reasons. But my big takeaway from both films was, 'Wow, there sure were a lot of colored folks in the mix.' And when I say "a lot," that should be taken with the understanding that two is "a lot" in terms of colored people on the big screen when we're talking about Hollywood blockbusters.

So it got me to thinking. Why is it easier for Hollywood to cast actors of color in science fiction films?And not just cast them, but cast them in roles that stretch beyond stereotypes. I posted a similar question on my Facebook page the other day and several people voiced their opinions. My favorite being, because all of these movies take place in the future and in the future, race really won't matter. It will be inconsequential. What do you think? Is that why Tyler Perry got his cameo role in Star Trek, and why Billy Dee Williams brought the sexy to Star Wars? And it's not just Black actors I'm talking about. Asian actors like John Cho (Star Trek) and Daniel Henney (Wolverine) also get to play against type in science fiction fantasies. And let's not forget about the entire multi-culti cast of Lost, I think the entire United Nations is represented on that show, right?

So, what does this mean? If you want some color in your movie experience, turn to sci-fi? If you're one of the gazillion actors of color looking for a role in Hollywood, brush up on your comic book characters? I'm not sure if there is a real lesson to be learned, though I am happy to see the diversity of actors in these films and TV shows, but I can't help but think, if colored people are good enough to play aliens, mutants and futuristic action heroes, why can't they play moms, and dads, and sexy hot bartenders too?



Once upon a time said...

Interesting observation.. the only conclusion I can draw is that "Hollywood" thinks minorities ARE aliens in the first place, i.e. not the norm in their worldview.

LT said...

Ha-Ha! I think you may be right!

JBH said...

My asian-biased view tells me that the ground was broken with George Takei and Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry might be able to take some credit here...and then perhaps others followed suit?

Farah said...

Nichelle Nichols also broke ground in Star Trek!