It seems as if this year the big screen cannot get enough of black narratives.
But Oprah Winfrey and other Hollywood heavyweights are not impressed. According to the Huffington Post, it’s a pattern they are all too familiar with. Every once in a while black-themed, often black-produced films make waves in award ceremonies and movie critic circles. And the next second there are crickets—the big stage becomes white-washed once again, with a disappointing lack of diversity.
“We’ve been through this before,” Winfrey said, according to the Huffington Post. “I don’t want it to be, ‘Oh, gee, we had the 10 films and now it’s another five years before you see another one.'”
This year has been especially great for black films. From tales of everyday African-American life like Fruitvale Station to big, historical productions such as Lee Daniels’ The Butler and 12 Years a Slave, Hollywood has been distributing one major black film after the other, with still a few scheduled for release in the coming months.
However, the producers and moviemakers who actually struggle with the lack of diversity in film remain unconvinced that this year’s trend will be any different from years past.
“Every 10 years, we have the same conversation: ‘Oh, there’s lots of black films being made,’ ” says filmmaker Spike Lee, according to the news site. “Then it drops off. It’s not consistent.”
According to Lee, black filmmakers are often treated like “flavors of the year,” a trend he dislikes.
It has gotten to the point where this year’s onslaught of black films depended not on Hollywood studios for distribution, but on independent ones, struggling to make sure the production was properly financed, the Huffington Post reports.
“It’s politically incorrect … to scream racism in Hollywood, in America,” said director of The Butler and Precious Lee Daniels. “It’s time to now not do that. We’ve got to call it as we see it.”