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The problem with all-star African American Casts...

Unfortunately, movies starring an all African American cast are on the verge of becoming extinct.  THAT’S RIGHT, EXTINCT! Ask any executive at a Hollywood Studio why, and most of them will tell you one of two things. The first thing they’ll say is that DVD sales have become very soft, so it’s hard for a movie with an all black cast to break-even.  Secondly they’ll say, most movies are now dependent on foreign sales to be successful and most "black" movies don’t sell well in foreign markets.  So what that means is you will begin to see less and less films that star an all black cast.   Isn’t that sad in a 2012 America? Somewhere along the way we still haven’t realized that we are more alike then not.

I must tell you that I have been very fortunate to work with a studio that sees the value in my type of storytelling and filmmaking. As well as having you, an audience of all races of people, who have stood by me arm and arm. It has helped me navigate through some pretty rough waters.

I thought that as black people in Hollywood, this is just our reality, but I quickly realized that this is not racism. What made me realize this is I had a conversation with Mr. Star Wars himself, George Lucas, and he was telling me that he was having the same problem with Red Tails. I was blown away!  Red Tails is an important story about, not just black history, but American history about the Tuskegee Airmen. It has an all-star African American cast, including Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard, which opens this Friday.  He went on to say that he brought the movie idea of Red Tails to several studios and no one wanted to make this film…. AND THIS IS GEORGE LUCAS!  Not to be deterred, he put up his own money, shot the movie then took it back to those same studios, and they wanted nothing to do with it. One of them even refused to see the film, citing the above mentioned problems.  So George decided to take a huge risk by entirely funding the movie and releasing it himself.  What a guy! For him to believe so strongly in this story is amazing.  I think we should pull together and get behind this movie. I really do! Not just African Americans, but all of us.  I have seen the movie and screened it here in Atlanta. I loved it and I think you will too.  The Tuskegee Airmen, who were at the screening, were so happy that somebody is telling a small part of their story.

It opens this Friday. Please take your kids, you will enjoy it and so will they. There is a lot of action and adventure and also a great history lesson to be learned.

George, I just want to say, thank you for having the courage to do this.

Comments (page 9)

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  • ELEE OKC,OK

    I understand what you are saying, but the same God that got you started is the same God that will be with you until the end. Keep the faith and let God lead you not man............

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  • Derrick Johnson Sr. Christiana, PA

    I believe and know that you are a amazing writer, director, and producer and I believe that there should be more Black casting. I am looking forward to view Red Tails directed by George Lucas with my wife and five children. I was wondering if you would try producing and directing a horror movie with a little comedy preferred Mike Epps. I am proud of my people and purchase all of your movies and I don't mean boot legs. Please stay strong and you will always have our loyal support. God is with you.

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  • Khalil_mlk Houston, Texas

    Re: The problem with all-star African American Casts... "We sick boss", as long as there is a disconnection from history past to history present we are sick, mentally. The wonders of discovery can solve all our problems, and answer all our questions. Do your thing, the world has imitated, assimulated, replicated black culture and call it anything but black. So what if holywood can't make money on a movie with an all black cast you can, and I will, because there is a market for it. Every day I look into the mirror and I see this beautiful, handsome black man...do you want to be in pictures, you already know the answer to that! By the way I will be in a theatre checking out the movie "red tails", and anyone else who want to see the movie.

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  • Dotty Kennedy Lumpkin Ga.

    I wrote a play with my students years ago called I Have A New Dream. It was about a young man who faces a judge and jury comprised of people from history.I posted part of his speech on face book. The play has a multi-racial cast and gives a balanced view of African American history. I think movies like the help should do the same. We are all in this together and we need to move away fro black versus white and move toward we the people, in movies and politics. Shows like Psych showing a relationship between two friends with no hidden agenda. I would love to see a color blind society where we can rise above racism and make it a people thing. In my play Jamal sees there is more to the history than he thinks and that he needs to change his ways to survive in the world today. Your movies are very popular and I enjoy them but I think it would be good if you mix it up a bit, life is not just black and white but truly a rainbow waiting to be enjoyed.

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  • Dotty Kennedy Lumpkin Ga.

    Honestly! Have you seen The Help? I think it is one of this year's best movies.

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  • Café Šahíyena Northwest Mountains

    Tyler...I would have to disagree -I do believe that it is very much racial! It may not be racial towards the film producer, but it is definetly racial against the cast of African Americans. I worked in Hollywood for a brief time...I understood then the comment made by Halle Berry..."there is no or little work for African Americans and we have to work harder". Working as a paid Television Audience Extra has taught me that there are no calls for African American roles...if they request "dark skinned" males or females, they are sure to emphasize "Brazillian Dark" or well "tanned". I have noticed that Caucasians expect African Americans to just be delighted to sit through an all White cast...but are offended if you invite them to a movie which has an all African cast! The excuse of not being able to market a movie with an all African cast in Europe is just that...an excuse. The film could very easily be marketed in Africa for that matter. The bottom line in this country is "Racism still exists, always has and always will...until the return of Christ, when He shall put an end to envy and hatred! Thany you for the part you do in presenting African Americans with images in which we can relate to. After a while, Africans get tired of everything being white, clothes designed for white women, undergarments and swim wear designed for white women, software images all designed for white people, discussions on talk shows always centered around caucasian life...in this country -it's white, white, white. There are other beautiful people in this country and world who deserve equal opportunities! Ms. Šahíyena www.cafesahiyena.com

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    • C Jensen United States #1622471

      Please remember it's not all white people. We do not all feel the same way. No more that are we responsible for slavery (not alive then, nor did any of my ancestors own slaves).Matter of fact I have ancestors who where white slaves, and indian slaves, and were enslaved and gased in concentration camps. No more than any afro-american, or black people want to have stero types about them, do white want to be stero typed. Any slavery is wrong, and any suffering is wrong. No human being should be treated with any lack of respect. We all come from the same father, and we are all family. I am a white woman, with several black and African American friends, who teaches her children to look past the hate (they are constantly bullied being the minority in their schools) and love everyone no matter what. I remind them that ugly behavior is ugly behavior no matter where it comes from. It's not fair nor its it right that kids should be made to suffer for arrogant white people and black peoples crimes of the past. African's were just as guilty for selling their own to arrogant lazy white people for a profit. I love Tyler Perry. I watch every single movie and play he does. I love black cinema. And I love my extended black family. I see racisim in my family, and stand up to it every time I encounter it in my life. I do not care what a person thinks about me and my views, it's how I was tought by my parents. I see racisim in my black friends families as well. It sucks and I for one am tired of it all. The way I combat it is by teaching my children it is wrong, and then I will watch as my children pass my teachings to their children. As much as they have been outcasted in school and bullied in school for being the minority, they hold their heads up high, and continue to accept all races into their lives. I wish more parents would do the same as we have done. But changing people minds isn't as easy as I wish it was. So remember the next time you bring up in a conversation "white people" to think of this post and remember we aren't all the enemy, nor are we trying to be. Much Love and blessings :)

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    • C Starling (United States) Bridgeport,CT #1622665

      Amen to your comment the way you were brought up is the same as me I am a 49 year old black woman. I see racisim everyday and your right not all people are racist so we as black people should stop blaming everyone. Here in 2012 racism should be a sign of the past, all people should be treated as equal and never take anyones respect from them. And yes we do all come from the same father and in the end we'll all be going home together. GOD is LOVE!! My family is mixed also but who cares as long as we love and respect one another that is all that matters.

      Reply
    • Sue Ellen Raleigh, NC #1622681

      Thank you so much for your comments. I absolutely agree with your post. My family is a mix of Native American, German, and white and as a teacher, I try to explain to my students that yes, racism still exists but that it is not in the majority of people's minds and actions anymore. My grandmother was full blooded Native American and was constantly harrassed in school through the 40s. However, that never stopped her from treating people as equals. Everyone is the same and I personally look forward to watching Red Tails for the historical value it has.

      Reply
  • fee fee Dallas, TX

    hi tyler. i just came here to tell you that i love you. i don't know...it was just in me to tell you that. i will be going to watch the movie tomorrow. i can hardly wait to see it. i hope to tell you what i think about the movie tomorrow. i appreciate everything that you do. you play so many roles. you have a lot of people who depend on you and i know that feeling. you are appreciated. have a great weekend. i don't know why it was in my heart to tell you that but i hope that it helps. :)

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  • BlackJesus.com Everywhere

    I watched Ed Burns a few weeks ago on Morning Joe talking about the new dynamics of film making. He said technology and direct to consumer distribution through the internet and direct satellite has now made it possible for him and anyone to make $8000 movies on the fly and still make money. Yes Red Tail does require all of the sophisticated technology to pull off and a lot of money, but our Black movie making forefathers like Oscar Micheaux didn't waste time waiting on the approval of white folks. They made movies and then distrubuted them to Black owned theaters. We have that same opportunity today. There are so many of our stories that have yet to be told and so many Black folks who have dreams of being in front of and behind the cameras. Black folks and people of African decent are starving for self affirming images of themselves. Why can't Black churches be the new theatres where they make money off of showing Black owned movies, using young people to sell the snacks. It seems to me we spend to much time saying woe is me they won't let me. If you don't agree please explain. If you do, what's the next step? I want to help. P.S. I am very disappointed that I missed your play when it was in town. Please consider setting up a text alert.

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  • Mary Eunice Jacksonville, Florida

    Mr. Perry, I have a great new idea for a mini t.v. series you might like. I am not a professional just an everyday person but I come into contact with many people just as myself who love life and find humor in everyday life situation. I think you are the most talented person I see on t.v. today and love all of your movies and tv stories you hit life on the head everytime. Thank you for sharing and keeping us laughing and thinking. A fan

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  • kathy columbus,ohio

    re: your blog about the Tuskegee Airman...... ..the BIGGER picture is that YOU are being used as a vessel for your gift...like Oprah... It is nothing new that Hollywood is NOT color-blind...I remember reading that Michael Jackson asked Stephen Spielberg to help him promote a movie about the Africian culture and he told him 'no'....but he had no problem promoting the fictional video "Thriller"; about zombies. George Lucas bascially said the same thing that Michael said ; that got all kinds of flack about his upcoming movie...but they had no problems spending millions creating fictional characters; such as Darth Vader....

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  • hillary francais atlanta, ga

    i can't wait to check this movie out! mr. perry...i submitted my stats, resume & photos to your casting dept for madea's witness protection for stand-in/extra position a week ago. when will decisions be made? my son was an electrician on good deeds, the marraige counselor & house of payne. can an unemployed sistsa with movie set experience get some love? peace...

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  • mariamu Nairobi, Kenya

    I must watch the movie! my son is part West Indian and his paternal Grand Father was part of a group of Afro- Caribbeans who were recruited into the the British Royal Air-force during WW 2. These men were outstanding pilots, whose bravery was recognised by the British Armed Forces. They went on to become great men in whatever field they served in. Nairobi

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