When Chris Rock speaks…he speaks the truth.
The dude has kept very quiet since the Oscar nominations were released last month, aside from that “White BET awards joke,” which admittedly was a good little moment easing Oscar racial tension. He’s now on the cover of Essence, and the magazine itself notes in their cover story that this interview was conducted back in December, so it’s not exactly Oscars-relevant. What is relevant in it is how black women are treated in Hollywood. PREACH, Chris:
Representation: “Black women are the least represented on-screen. They just are. You can go see a lot of movies and there’s not one black woman in there with, like, a real part. It’s a real, real, real problem.”
The challenges facing black actresses: “I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be Black?’ It happens every time. Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”
Whether he’s always advocated for women of color: “I think everything I’ve ever done has had a significant role for a Black or brown woman. I refuse not to. I’ve never gone into battle without a Black woman, you know, a movie battle. With Tichina Arnold in Everybody Hates Chris, I had to fight for Tichina. I’m not even going to tell you who the network wanted. She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks. They’re like, ‘Tichina who’?’”
Retirement: “I was with [Jerry] Seinfeld the other day. We were like, ‘What we got? Five years? Six years?’ Literally. That’s not saying making a living. It’s saying, ‘How much longer do you have where people are going to care [about] what you say?’”
I like Chris Rock, and I believe he has championed for women of color and created roles in his projects. Let’s hope this trend continues, and not just for Chris’ productions…