Sanaa Lathan, Mo’Nique and more on the state of black Hollywood

Sanaa Lathan_Rolling Out Joi Pearson-8
Sanaa Lathan_Rolling Out Joi Pearson-8

Five stars of television and film shared their thoughts on the current state of Hollywood and how they feel about the rise in Black projects.

Loretta Devine (“The Carmichael Show“):
“It’s such a mixture of people creating these things and making them happen. Even though a show may look very black, it’s usually very mixed. I was so excited that Jerrod [Carmichael] was so young and so wise. He’s had his hand in everything all the way down to the costumes we’re wearing. He made sure I met his mom and got a chance to see what he meant to them.

I think it’s really important and great that we’re going to get a variety of things this year to look at. This show is very different from [the ABC sitcom] black-ish–which is the number one sitcom. We have so many different things for people to get idea from. And with Straight Outta Compton hitting number one, it changes the amount of work that you get to do.”

Sanaa Lathan (The Perfect Guy):
“I think it’s a little bit better. But we still definitely have a long way to go. I’m really thrilled to be seeing the box office success of black films lately. That’s the only thing the industry takes note of—box office. They’re looking at color: green. The fact that people are showing up is showing them that we have a voice and people are craving more diversity. People are craving seeing themselves. Hollywood should reflect the world that we live in and I’m eager to see that happen.”

Mo’Nique (Bessie):
“I applaud any sister in this industry that’s making it happen,” she shares. “Because we know that you’ve got to really work hard in this industry. Do we have a ways to go? Why of course we do. Have we come some ways? Of course we have. But I applaud all of the sisters who are saying ‘let’s continue to push and make this happen.’ Good or bad or however people are feeling—any time you take a step forward, it’s progression.”

Craig Robinson (“Mr. Robinson”):
When it comes to pitching ideas, I don’t think it’s hard when you’re prepared. When you know what you’re doing and you got something—my attitude is ‘Yall better step up. Who’s gonna be the lucky one?’ I’m seeing where it is and I’m enjoying the ratings, but this is Hollywood. So you’ve got to see where the next week is going to go. There’s a lot of work in it and you have to realize that you’ve been here before. It’s a recognition kind of thing and it’s cool. There’s work to be done, I won’t be able to look back and celebrate for some years or something.”

Erica Ash (“Survivor’s Remorse”):
“I think when you portray authenticity you do reach a lot more people. It’s not just like ‘Oh these are black people problems.’ My white friends can say ‘ohmigod, my mother is just like that!’ It’s important for us to do that because I think it allows us to touch more people. I think that we discuss could be anywhere in the U.S.A. It’s more about themes and the actual family unit that is the most important thing.”

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