Diversity in Hollywood is a big topic of conversation these days, especially with the Academy Awards happening on Sunday night. The Oscar nominations lacked diversity this year and Hollywood whitewashing remains a common occurrence, as Last Week Tonight talked about in a viral video this week. So that’s why the NY Times article “What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood (If You’re Not a Straight White Man)” is so poignant.
The article includes comments from actors like Empire‘s Jussie Smollett, his sister Jurnee Smolett-Bell, Mindy Kaling, Wendell Pierce, Jimmy Smits, Ken Jeong, American Ferrera, Eva Longoria, and so many more. It’s a long, but very engaging article in which the Hollywood folks talk about their experiences navigating the entertainment industry, which is dominated by white, straight males.
Jussie Smollett’s story is part of the section “Victories to Savor” and it’s a touching story. Check it out below:
I had posted something that was very political, and the amount of negative comments was really heart-wrenching. Then, [at a restaurant], this older black dude walked up and said, “I didn’t want to bother you, I didn’t want a selfie, I just wanted to let you know that the story line of Jamal” [his gay character on “Empire”] “really made it easier for me to talk to my son about his sexuality.” I needed him at that moment. But apparently he needed the story line at the moment.