Help fund The Hollywood Blackout #Kickstarter #ENDTHEBLACKOUT

hollywood blackout logoMy fellow Washington Area Film Critic Association member Kevin Sampson is tired of the same old, same old portrayal of blacks in Hollywood films and wants to do something about it with his proposed documentary, “The Hollywood Blackout,” but he needs your help in making that vision a reality.

As the producer/host of Picture Lock (a film review show and website) and a film critic in the Washington D.C. area I see a lot of films and talk to a lot of filmmakers and critics. I know that there are great stories being told from and with ethnic minorities on the indie film scene, but many of them never make it to nationwide distribution in theaters. Earlier this year I hit a boiling point as it seemed to me that one of the few films with a predominantly black cast that actually received nationwide distribution was riddled with stereotypes.

hollywood blackout picSo I wrote “An Open Letter to Black Screenwriters” to call attention to the issue. After getting a large response and tons of feedback from people, I realized that the issue also has a lot to do with the business of film. I also realized this was an issue that people wanted to get behind.

It was the support of actor/producer Leon that made it clear to me that even Hollywood icons still believe that this is a conversation that needs to be tackled.

You can check out Kevin’s video and full explanation of his project here.





  • Fred

    I was reading some of this fascinating article and I have to read up on it some more. But your friend is absolutely right, diversity is Indeed lacking in Hollywood especially among Blacks, Hispanics and Asians to name a few. And it’s lacking among females in terms of more leading roles in big budget action films. I don’t need to see blacks playing lead roles in only comedy films or hood films, though it’s been many of them that I have loved over the years. Why can’t blacks and other minorities be featured as leads in comic book films, dramas, animations, sci-fi, thrillers etc. Jeff me, you and other have been on your site for years now asking when will Marvel finally announce and confirm films for Black Panther and Ms. Marvel. Now I’m sure those two films alone won’t make Hollywood do a full 360 turn with more diversity in films, but what that will do is open the door to more possibilities IMO. I say this because being big budgeted films by Marvel who seem to have a damn near flawless record right now and the trust and loyalty they built up towards their audiences, those films are guaranteed successes. And you know that saying, success breeds imitators. With big success more studios would be will to feature minorities and female in more lead roles for big budgeted films.

  • Yeah, I’m very hopeful and curious to see what becomes of Kevin’s project. We’ve talked a bit on it so I may be contributing in more ways than just helping out on Kickstarter.

    I think Marvel knows the demand now and if they weren’t before is speeding up the process for both Black Panther and Ms. Marvel.

    Warner Bros. could have a very unique hero if they can figure out how to make a Cyborg standalone movie work.

    It’s interesting as on the TV front we see more attempts at diversity in shows like “24,” “Lost,” “House of Lies” and “Scandal,” but we’re slowly seeing improvements in movies.

    I didn’t like “The Call,” but that was a drama thriller that just happened to feature Halle Berry and “No Good Deed” looks to be along the same vein. Problem is there is the uphill struggle with finding paying audiences – “Get on Up” only managed $29M and studios won’t necessarily look at it being somewhat disjointed, but that a black drama earned less than half of Think Like a Man Too’s $65M. It’s a battle on all fronts.

  • Fred

    Kevin Feige has even admitted that the demands for a Black Panther and Ms. Marvel film are very strong, he said they get asked more about those than ‘Avengers 3’ or a possible ‘Iron Man 4’. Any social media outlet that follows Hollywood talks about it and it’s on every comic book site dominating the news. DC doesn’t have nearly as strong of minority characters as Marvel has, but they have to make best with what they have. I agree with you that they really need to flesh out ‘Cyborg’s’ character. I can’t put blame on WB for this since their only the movie studio, I blame DC for being so damn racist and limited towards black and minority superheroes. It’s very sad when you only have two black superheroes in your historical line up worth a damn thing, Cyborg and John Stewart. It’s even sadder when Marvel, a studio that was created 20 years after you beats you to the punch in creating the first black superhero in comic book history, being Black Panther of course. I get on DC but I get on Marvel much more when it comes to this situation because they have a much bigger cast of black superheroes in their gallery. It was a shame that “Get On Up” didn’t perform better at the box office, that was a very good film IMO. Eventhough “Think Like A Man” doubled ‘Get On Up’ at the box office, it also made 26 million less than the original which is not a good sign. I have not seen it yet and I will, but I’ve heard by you and so many others that it’s inferior to the original. TV seems to have been better with diversity on TV when it comes to minorities, it was a nice move by “Agents Of Shield” to add a Tippet to it’s line up. They did it right though, they didn’t try to force feed him to the line up for the sake of more diversity, they built on it as the season rolled along and put him on the team after Ward showed his true colors.

  • Yep, I covered Feige’s comments in this post.

    My biggest gripe re: Marvel Studios’ diversity was more I would have liked for Black Panther and Ms. Marvel to be in the actual Avengers 2 roster, but I kinda understand waiting to flesh out the universe more before a minority headlining a film. But, we really should get some news on both of them soon. MS has done a solid job of incorporating Falcon and War Machine into the Avenger films and Iron Patriot/Rhodey will at least have a cameo in Avengers 2 not to mention Luke Cage coming from Netflix so it seems more a matter of Marvel not sure how to make a BP film rather than not being interested in showing diversity.

    I give them a lot of credit for going against the source material — even though it caused all kinds of headaches with comic continuity with Captain America — in making Fury the Ultimates’ Samuel L Jackson version.

    As for DC, you’re right. Their black hero section is kinda barren after John Stewart, Black Lightning, Vixen, Static, Mr. Terrific and Cyborg. And yet they still didn’t address that problem much with the shift to the new 52 beyond making Amanda Waller a supermodel. Sigh.

    Good point on TLAM2. At least we’re getting a third Best Man.

    I was kinda annoyed that Trip wasn’t on the second season teaser poster. I’m looking forward to his role expanding this season.

  • Fred

    At first I was a passed about Black Panther and Ms. Marvel not featuring in AOU myself, but as I started to seeing where they we’re going with it I said okay, I can accept that for now. But going into A3 I definitely want to see black panther and Ms. Marvel fully fleshed out on the big screen. As far as Marvel Studios trying to figure out what to do with Black Panther, they don’t make those big bucks for nothing, get on it baby lol. There are several directors for a Black Panther film that come to mind for me, John Singleton, Antoine Fuqua, Spike Lee and Steve McQueen just to name a few. I’m sure Trip’s role will be expanded and he should have indeed been featured on the second teaser poster.

  • Yep. I don’t mind since Quicksilver and SW were there originally before either T’Challa or Carol so that’s fine. I’d be shocked if they aren’t in Avengers 3 though.

    LOL. If Fuqua would be interested, I’d love to see his take on BP.

  • Fred

    Oh yeah, SW and QS will definitely will definitely do for now, but you’re forgetting about the Vision my friend who I’m even more excited about. I think Fuqua will kill it on a BP film, he would certainly bring the strongest action dynamic to the film and he can tell a good story as well.

  • Too true. I think Bettany is gonna kill as Vision!

    Yep. Wonder if he’s talked to them at all or has any interest in comic book films?

  • Pierre, I’m sure I can get one for you. Give me a few hours. I agree, with a larger presence comes more roles and opportunities.

  • keith

    I was afraid to ask you about any kickstarters or go fund me stuff. I will probably contact you on facebook, but I was trying to help out a friend. She trying to get her computer/website business up and humming and got a pass to CES ! I will send it to you and get your permission before I just drop links. I will read this later as I want to take my time on important stuff. I may need to drop a couple of bucks.

  • Send it along man. I can always check it out!

  • keith

    on top of that she is a fellow “blerd” if you will.