The Adjustment Bureau's Anthony Mackie was invited to tonight's Tavis Smiley Show to discuss his controversial analysis of the lack of black representation at this year's Oscars. (He said in a recent interview, "Blacks are being kinda lazy on our game. My thoughts on the Oscars with no blacks nominated, I just think we need to make more films. There are enough brothers with distribution deals and production deals where we should be making our own movies.")
Tavis asked Mackie to explain what he meant, and the actor didn't hold back (even using the l-word again!), with comments like:
"If we don’t tell those stories, we can't expect someone else to tell them for us."
"The biggest actor in the world is a black dude [Will Smith]. How are we being limited?"
"What's Spike [Lee] doing?"
"We can make independent films."
"Look at Matt Damon and what he did with Good Will Hunting."
"Let's be smart about our business. We can't make a $20 million movie."
"You can't look at the business from a black perspective and be like, 'I want to make all my money up front now.' "
"We're being lazy and we're being greedy."
Mackie used the interview to put the current status of black film in historical context, and offered anecdotes about his own experience working for a pittance. The takeaway seems to be: Make quality films, even if you have to start small and cheap. And remember that this is a business.
We do take issue with his characterization of the "black perspective" as "I want to make all my money up front now." (That would fall under the unhelpful "sweeping generalization" category.) But Mackie is not short on insight. And his prescription is ultimately pretty empowering and optimistic, even if spotted with insults. This just might be the pep talk black Hollywood needs.
Watch the interview here:
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In other news: Essence Magazine Gets New Editor-in-Chief.