Actress Sanaa Lathan: “Black Movies Are American Movies”

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
Sanaa Lathan has a message for Hollywood and all the moviegoers that feed the machine: Black movies are American movies, so get with the program. "It's not a niche thing," the actress told Access Hollywood on the red carpet at the premiere of her new film, The Perfect Guy. "I've been in the business for 20 years and I've done a lot of movies, from romantic comedies to dramas, and I know for a fact that people of all races see them," Lathan continued. Good point. And yet, there is an undeniable, regressive precept in the entertainment world that "Black man, Black women, Black kids equals Black movie," as one studio executive told The Daily Beast. Films featuring primarily Black actors are quickly assumed to appeal to primarily Black audiences; but movies with mostly white casts (i.e., the majority of Hollywood releases) aren't assumed to appeal solely to white people. This is a dangerous double standard that assumes the Black movies are simply a subgroup of a larger industry; in fact — as Lathan points out — they don't deserve to be slated as race-specific. Lathan also called out Hollywood for failing to reflect the melting-pot diversity of America. "Let's see some more diverse stories on our screens," the Love & Basketball star said. "This is the 21st century. It's time. It's way, way overdue." She's definitely got that right.

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