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This past week Kevin Hart co-hosted the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Joyner interviewed Hart on the importance of supporting “black films,” or movies involving a predominately black cast. But why are black movies referred to as “black movies?” Movies with a predominately white cast aren’t called “white movies?” Hart explained how he plans to break the racial barrier.
One thing he wants audiences to understand is that the title “black movie” exists because we allow it to. We constantly place ourselves in a category. In return, the film industry does not believe in the ideas that these movies can be international or have universal appeal.
Although “Think Like a Man Too,” in which Hart co-stars, reached #1 in the box office this weekend, it will not be shown internationally, and was only viewed on 2,100 screens in the United States. However, the Clint Eastwood directed film; “Jersey Boys” starring a (predominately white cast,) will be shown internationally and viewed on 3,000 screens in the United States.
George Lucas, director of “Red Tails,” the 2012 film about the Tuskegee Airmen, had to fund the movie himself. The industry would not support it because of its all-black cast. In an interview with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart in 2012 Lucas said, “This has been held up for release since 1942 since it was shot, I’ve been trying to get released ever since. “It’s because it’s an all-black movie. There’s no major white roles in it at all…I showed it to all of them and they said no. We don’t know how to market a movie like this.” But viewers have the ability to control whether or not a “black film” has as much success as a majority film.
Kevin Hart’s recent success proves that African Americans can be successful in film, internationally. His last stand-up comedy documentary film, Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain, arguably, shocked audiences with clips from around the world. He sold out arenas in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and more. Also, Ride Along, which premiered in theatres this past January, went international and reached $157 million within the first two weeks of its release.
Hart has also taken the #1, 2, and 3 spots on Fandango, a top online destination for millions of moviegoers to purchase tickets. He says that, “laughter has no color, and good product has no color. People love good content.”
It is imperative that we continue to support the material that these actors and actresses are working so hard for. We cannot always to be quick to complain about being discriminated against, if we are not stepping up and supporting our brothers and sisters in film. If the film industry sees the love and support from fans, they have to provide “black movies” with the same platforms and privileges as “white films.” We, the consumers, must refuse to sit back and allow these movies to just stay black and die.
Hart realizes that he has the ability to change the perception of films with predominately black casts in the entertainment, and you do too.