Racial stereotypes in films have occurred among people of color through characters, especially black. This has made challenges in opportunities, leading to a prevalence of stereotypes and lack of diversity on-screen, and they have also come a long way with many perspectives in the movie industry. The motion industry has had a long history and criticism for its racially casting options since it has a significant role in a mass dissemination across the globe to audiences in every generation and has affected people’s belief systems.
However, since a development in technologies and people’s perception, several modern filmmakers have already started to change the old stereotypes to be diverse and more positive. Furthermore, black actors have appeared as the main characters in many Hollywood movies, and they are becoming more powerful to the film industry and ideally have a lot of influences on some certain audiences.
Over decades of black communities that have has a long been history within the film industry. One of the most important events was the Civil Rights Movement which responded to a racial discrimination towards African-Americans during the 1950s (Berry, 2009). The growing power of the movement had many influences on American society, including on Hollywood and film industry. It caused a number of the large film productions began to involve more black casts and also shifted the representations and views of African-Americans in films (Siham, 2010).
Things slowly changed thanks to actor Sidney Poitier’s arrival on several Hollywood scenes, and his name quickly became synonymous during the 1960s (L. Johnson, 2017). Poitier pushed Hollywood’s boundaries of racial integration even further in the film (Siham, 2010). Throughout the film history, blacks have been few displaying on screen and commonly represented in the negative, brutalizing ways, often the lowest level and a secondary character providing a humor or contrasting with white.
Poitier was the first black actor who guided the way to other black actors, to give them the opportunity to show their talents and to give a good image for the African Americans (Siham, 2010). These movements had made a major changed and also encouraged another movement within both society and the film industry. Various film productions had a greater push back against the racial status, greater cast integration, and greater encouragement to better understand the meanings of the race.
The opportunities and accomplishment of African-Americans in the film industry have constantly increased and continued to develop over time. Since the possibility of integration, it has forced a number of opportunities to black actors, directors, producers, and writers continued to be widespread. During the 1990’s, black television had become the most popular programs of all the time (Rose, 2016). This decade had indicated a Golden Age of Black Television and the film industry had extremely changed in that time (Srihari, 2018).
The amount of black films, actors and programs at that time is extremely growing out. Several black actors became guaranteed by box office starring in popular blockbusters and critical hits such as Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Will Smith (Srihari, 2018). Audiences were able to see black actors played roles such as doctors, judges, professors and other working professionals (I. Johnson, 2017). Moreover, rappers and musicians characters were involved into films seamlessly and received many interests from audiences (Rose, 2016).
The ways in which the motion picture industry portrayed black characters over the vast majority of the 20th century have taken steps in the right and more positive directions. Besides the more visibility, various films have appeared in Oscar nominations and received the awards in a recent year. The movies “Hidden Figures”, “Fences” and “Moonlight” were all playing by black actors as a center of the story that receiving best picture nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards (L. Johnson, 2017).
Also, Jordan Peele, the African-American director of the movie “Get Out” was nominated for the best directors, best original screenplay, and best picture (Lee, 2018). The 90s golden age has become a cultural standard for the current generation since a new production of black filmmakers is starting to respond to the reality. It is significant when such films receive a recognition in the Academy Awards because it can affect the thought process of the executives behind the screen and be a guide for greater possibilities.
Currently, black characters are being widely exposed in both movies and cartoons. A success of the superhero movie “Black Panther” from Marvel Studio is on pace to be the most outstanding one in today’s society. The movie is not only directed by the black director, but its soundtrack is also produced by black rapper Kendrick Lamar (Clarke, 2018). The movie has dominated the box office quickly with predominant of black casts. After the movie was exposing, Chadwick Bowmen, whose roles as Black Panther, has become more than a comic-book superhero, but transforms into a symbol of hope for African-Americans (Lee, 2018).
Along with the men actor, the movie also highlights the strengths of black women portraying as queen, warriors, and scientist (Lee, 2018). Additionally, it inspired Frederick Joseph, a marketing consultant and activist from New York City, established a GoFundMe campaign called “the Black Panther Challenge” to take children from inner-city areas to see the film (Lee, 2018). Now, there are more than 200 campaigns worldwide associated with the challenge, with over $250,000 raised from more than 4,000 donations throughout the world (Agbabiaka, 2018).
Since the movie represented about a diversity in cultures and stereotypes, respect, family, masculinity and feminism, Joseph thought that this will be one of a method to learn about those things (Agbabika, 2018). Joseph hopes that the campaign will open the eyes of more film productions to be responsive of diverse stories, not just in the black community but also in the communities of colors, women, and also LGBTQ (Agbabika, 2018). Astonishingly, Black Panther is now more than successful. In reality, for many people, Black Panther is proving to be more than just another blockbuster. It is also considered as a cultural movement for black communities around the world.
In conclusion, black actors have a long history about a racial stereotype within the film. It is common to see characters in movies, whether main or side, are mostly white while black is not often appeared in the film or presented in violent behaviors. Conversely, thanks to the historical events, they have changed the representations and perspectives of black communities. The depictions and views of black characters in films have been shifted to be more positive and noticeable and also spread the message that people of color can succeed regardless of others’ low expectations.
This is because the modern view that they present has been far from what it used to be with the roles having attached to racial prejudice. Presently, they are gaining much attention from the society and have inspired to some audiences. It has also demonstrated the strong power of diversity, inclusion screen, achievements recognized and restarted a nostalgic on the potential of black power. Eventually, the success of African-Americans in movies and the participation of black directors and filmmakers in progressing diverse films will be successful to change and provide the true meaning of diversity toward society’s perceptions.