Am I the only one who missed this disturbing news about the international advertising campaign for the movie Couples Retreat? Personally, I hardly paid attention to this film when it premiered in the United States because Vince Vaughn is in it and quite frankly, I think Vaughn possesses the dramatic range of a yodeling pickle. But I digress.
Apparently, the movie posters for the film in the UK and other foreign markets had the Black couple removed -- both their photographs and their names in the list of credits -- because, well, because apparently Black people just don't appeal to foreigners. Here's how a Universal spokesperson explained their decision to whitewash the poster: We got rid of the Black actors to “ simplify the poster to actors who are most recognizable in international markets.” Oh, And they "regretted causing offense."
For a full read on the incident,and a peek at the before-and-after posters, you can check out this Yahoo story.
Many people in La La Land, aka Hollywood, believe that Black people just don't translate well overseas. That Will Smith just isn't that popular and so we can't put him on magazine covers or on movie posters and expect our British brothers and sisters to buy. And God forbid can you imagine in Japan or China or Turkey? Or at least that's what top brass at the movie companies are saying. But maybe they're saying that because they personally think that and don't have any Black people in positions of power at the studio to tell them otherwise. That's kind of what this writer at the LA Times says in his article about this whole hulabaloo.
What do you think? Especially you world travelers. Would foreign audiences shun a movie with a Black protagonist or supporting actor? Could they handle Black people on their movie posters? Vivienne Pattison, director of Media Watch UK, told the [Daily]Mail: "... We celebrate diversity in Britain and we could have coped with seeing the same poster used in America." Indeed, I find it really hard to believe that considering foreign markets are so hot for Black music, style, fashion, slang, dance, food (yes, my cousin is about to take a job teaching Italian chefs how to make soul food in Italy.), and our hot Black president, that somehow they would be turned off by Black people in a movie. What is the real problem here? Where are we getting lost in translation?
I'm really, really listening.