Last week a particularly interesting guest post by writer-producer Angela Harvey appeared in The Hollywood reporter. In a nutshell “The question for writers shouldn’t be rooted in whether or not one can write a story – it’s whether or not they should.” Think about it as you read:
by Angela Harvey
You know what working from home makes me miss? Water coolers. If Hollywood still gathered in offices and writers rooms, one of the hottest topics around those coolers today would be authentic storytelling onscreen.
In September, the announcement that Ron Howard was attached to direct an adaptation of Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s memoir (scripted by Michele and Kieran Mulroney) drove director Lulu Wang to Twitter to express her dismay at Hollywood telling yet another distinctly Chinese story while excluding Chinese voices from the key creative team. More directly and controversially, novelist and former Congressional candidate Saira Rao recently tweeted: “White people need to stop writing Black and brown characters,” with The Wire creator David Simon replying in part, “How about humans research and write other humans and results are judged?” and Orphan Black scribe Aubrey Nealon responding, “It’s plainly wrong to claim that in a wildly inequitable system, all that matters is the quality of the product.” Queen of the South writer Jorge Reyes added, “You can’t say on one hand that you advocate for BIPOC inclusion, then bang on for the right to write BIPOC stories, as if the opportunities to do such stories are infinite.”
This passionate, multifaceted, disjointed conversation shows how far we have to go in figuring out what exactly authentic storytelling means. The social unrest and political upheaval in our country show just how imperative it is that we figure it out. As a co-chair of the Think Tank for Inclusion and Equity (TTIE) and as a Black woman, I’m glad these conversations are happening. It shows Hollywood is finally hearing underrepresented voices, even if it’s still not quite listening to us….