Illustration Credit: Star Porras

On March 22nd, Us, directed by Jordan Peele made its debut in theaters across the United States. Over the course of its opening weekend, US made $70 Million by captivating movie-goers with its thrilling twists and turns about cloning and it’s horrifying effects.

 

Peele has been called many things including, a psychological thriller genius, a modern Hitchcock, and yes, an iconic black director.

 

Modern media has had its fair share of blatant and often overlooked racial discrimination.  Hollywood has a long history of racism not only within films themselves, but discrimination against actors, directors, composers and more.

 

One of Hollywood’s first movies featuring a “black man” was Birth of a Nation (1915) directed by D.W. Griffith. This film depicted a “black” man, played by a white man in blackface, as aggressive and overtly sexual towards white women as he was hunted by the newly created, Ku Klux Klan.

 

This film has been criticized for decades but continues to be seen as an outstanding work of cinematography by some.

 

Modern-day Hollywood continues to have it’s majors issues with racism and bigotry.  This includes colorism on the big screen, like in Straight Outta Compton (2015) directed by F. Gary Gray, in which the casting call was blatantly and unapologetically colorist.


“A GIRLS: These are the hottest of the hottest. Models. MUST have real hair – no extensions, very classy looking, great bodies. You can be black, white, Asian, Hispanic, mid-eastern, or mixed race too.”

“D GIRLS: These are African American girls. Poor, not in good shape. Medium to dark skin tone.”

Major discrimination also being within academy awards for films, in which it is a known fact that awards do not go to African-American directors, actors, and artists as often as they should be.

US brings African-American actors, directors and creative minds to the big screen and to modern media. The usage of darker-skinned, articulate African-American actors including Lupita N’yongo, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex, shows modern audiences that African-Americans are average people doing everyday tasks.

 

Black minds behind major motion pictures do exactly what they are intended to do- Create entertaining films for audiences to enjoy.