Ah Hollywood. The forward thinking, dream-making land of glitz and glamour. The star-filled land of opportunity and hope but for a few and fortunate. But as much as #Hollywood, and the stars let you believe they have progressed, there is a big gaping hole in the midst of all of the sparkle - the lack of diversity in major motion pictures.

This news comes despite a year where the #Oscars celebrated diversity (finally) by recognising and awarding the Best Picture Award to Moonlight (eventually). The talk of whitewashing still looms like a large elephant in the room, which simply can’t be ignored any longer.

Whitewashing - the idea of having a white actor playing a non-white character- as you’d imagine, isn’t a new issue in the movie industry.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Since the birth of motion picture, there has been trouble with whitewashing. Some of Hollywood’s biggest hits, including "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," are now remembered for their ill-advised castings. Though thankfully we have moved on from this standard of characterisation, there is still much that needs to be learned.

Same old Hollywood

This year alone has seen whitewashing at the tip of everyone’s mouths once again, with two big Hollywood blockbusters, "#The Great Wall" and "Ghost in the Shell", being thrust into the spotlight. The casting of Matt Damon for "The Great Wall" and Scarlett Johansson for "Ghost in the Shell," two American actors, has led to complaints of a lack of diversity in leading roles in Hollywood.

But it’s not just the big screen that has caused public outcry. Netflix too came under fire after the release of their trailer for the upcoming adaptation, "Death Note," which is based on a hugely popular Japanese Manga series.

Advertisements

Fans flocked to social media sites to point out their dismay in the changes, which include relocating the location from Japan to Seattle, and replacing the lead character with an American.

According to a report by PBS in 2014, diversity in film remains largely unchanged, finding that between 2007-2014 the percentage of white actors was a whopping 73.1 percent compared to 12.5 percent of which were black actors, 5.3 percent were asian and 4.9 percent were hispanic.

Greater issues

Hollywood aren’t the only offenders however, Britain has also been slated for their lack of diversity when it comes to film and television series’. Last year, the British Film Institute conducted a survey looking into black actors in movies. They discovered that 59 percent of UK films had no black actors in any role, while only 13 percent of UK films had a black actor in a leading role.

So where’s it all going wrong? Some would point to the profitability of having an actor such as Johansson and Damon in the leading roles for their films, but both faired relatively poorly in America off the back of the criticism.

Advertisements

Their failure seems to be a recurring trend amongst films hastily put together with American audiences in mind. While it’s true that the old guard is slowly but surely changing, with this year’s Oscar’s being testament to that, the world of film is still lagging behind other mediums.