Hollywood Afraid to ‘Let Black People Tell Stories’

Boyz N the Hood director John Singleton calls out Hollywood liberals who think they’re not racist.

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John Singleton arrives at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif., Feb. 24, 2013. 

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

In a brutally honest interview, Boyz N the Hood director John Singleton slammed the Hollywood "liberals" who don't let black people "tell the stories," the Hollywood Reporter reveals.

In an interview with the entertainment outlet released on Monday, part of its "Hollywood Masters" series, Singleton came down hard on the major studios for refusing to let black people direct black-themed films.

"They have these pictures where everybody's so interested in black culture, which they have been since the minstrel age, since the Jazz Age, since the early days of blues, which begot rock and roll. But they ain't letting the black people tell the stories. And you're like, oh, OK, we're going to take your stories, but you know what, you're going to go starve over here and we're not going to let you get a job," Singleton told reporter Stephen Galloway.

"The so-called liberals that are in Hollywood now are not as good as their parents or ancestors," Singleton added. "They feel they're not racist. They're not racist, they grew up with hip-hop, so you can't be racist. 'I like Jay Z, but that don't mean I got to give you a job.' You see what I'm saying?"

He also knocked those black executives in film who seem to be afraid to give their opinion on race and black culture.

"You've got a lot of black executives at the studio who are afraid to give their opinion about what black culture is. And they don't know there's a whole lot of black people who work in studios that don't need to be there because they won't—if I give them the best thing possible, they're scared to give it to somebody,” he lamented. “There's no Stephanie Allains. Stephanie Allain who kicked and screamed to get Boyz N the Hood made. Those people don't exist anymore, whether or not they're black, white or whatever. So we're not going there. What doesn't exist is financial infrastructure for people, and not necessarily black, but just people of different visions, to be able to do different types of work."

He also pointed to the fact that Hollywood concentrated far too much on "getting butts" in the seat, leading to monolithic films with nothing special or unique.

"They’re not moving the bar forward creatively or anything you want. It's not that you have to say something or you have to make an important movie. We're in the entertainment business. We're in the business where you've got to get as many butts in the seats and get people excited on Friday, Saturday and even come out Sunday to see the picture. And even after that, they got to want to buy it, they got to want to order it, push a button and get it," Singleton said bluntly.

He then used his own film as an example. "When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don't have anything that's special," Singleton added. "Boyz N the Hood wasn't made for everybody. It was made for, like, a young black audience that buys hip-hop records.”

Read the full exchange at the Hollywood Reporter.

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