Rock discussed his early experiences in Hollywood, which came courtesy of Eddie Murphy.
“I was probably 19 when I first came to Hollywood. Eddie Murphy brought me out to do Beverly Hills Cop II and he had a deal at Paramount, so I remember going through the gates of the Paramount lot.”
“He’s in a Rolls-Royce, and he’s not just a star, he’s the biggest star in the world.”
Chris Rock spoke of the decades since and his efforts to help other black actors break into a tough industry. At the same time, he acknowledged that there is a huge difference in opportunities between black actors and white actors.
Though Rock mentioned that he would willingly help out a talented white comedian, he felt that often his help wasn’t really needed.
“Someone’s going to help the white guy. Multiple people will. The people whom I’ve tried to help, I’m not sure anybody was going to help them.”
Chris Rock said in his essay that for all the claims of liberalism and progressiveness in Hollywood’s entertainment industry, it is still very much a “white industry.”
Said Rock, “The black people they do hire tend to be the same person.”
But rather than simply focus on discrimination against African Americans, Chris Rock also touched on the racism experienced by Mexican Americans and other Latinos.
“[F]orget whether Hollywood is black enough. A better question is: Is Hollywood Mexican enough?”
“You’re in L.A, you’ve got to try not to hire Mexicans. It’s the most liberal town in the world, and there’s a part of it that’s kind of racist… [It’s just accepted] that there’s a slave state in L.A.”
“There’s this [expectation] that Mexicans are going to take care of white people in L.A. that doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
According to Chris Rock, Latino visibility in Hollywood, particularly in roles and positions behind the cameras, is almost non-existent.
“You’re telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio?” said Rock. “Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that’s true?”
Chris Rock’s essay on racism in Hollywood also claims that many lead roles that are never offered to people of color, with the default option being white.
This remark makes an interesting backdrop for the criticism experienced by director Ridley Scott, whose movie Exodus: Gods And Kings has been under heavy fire for casting white actors and actresses in the leading roles and relegating non-whites to largely non-speaking roles as slaves and criminals.
Here’s a movie made with racist casting decisions. I say #BoycottExodusMovie God never said Moses was a white dude pic.twitter.com/79gckbaVgw
— Mr. Hassan (@finddatsolution) August 26, 2014
It has also been noted that the upcoming Academy Awards is expected to be the “whitest” it has been in years.
Do you think Chris Rock was right to call out Hollywood for racism and hypocrisy or did his essay go too far?
[Image Credit: Clevver Movies]