Following the media uproar over Meryl Streep’s “We’re all Africans” comment during the Berlin Film Festival, the celebrity actress is trying to clarify the confusion. According to Streep, the comment was taken out of context.
Instead of landing on social media and Twitter, the actress chose to defend her stand through the Huffington Post. In the opinion piece, Streep vented her disappointment without sounding apologetic.
“Contrary to distorted reporting, no one at that press conference addressed a question to me about the racial makeup of the jury. I did not defend the all-white jury, nor would I, if I had been asked to do so. Inclusion — of races, genders, ethnicities and religions — is important to me, as I stated at the outset of the press conference.”
Media picked up Meryl Streep’s “all African” line when she responded to an Egyptian reporter on her familiarity with cinema from Africa and the Middle East. She was officiating her first international film jury at the Berlin Film Festival. Media outlets allegedly managed to broadcast the message that she was defending the festival’s all-white jury through her comments.
Reportedly, journalists raised the “jury diversity issue” three times during the Berlin Film Festival press conference.
“I was not minimizing difference, but emphasizing the invisible connection empathy enables, a thing so central to the fact of being human, and what art can do: convey another person’s experience,” Streep wrote.
Reportedly media amplified Streep’s “all Africans” line worldwide, because of the palpable racial overtones that emerged from the Suffragette photo shoot when she and other cast members sported the controversial slogan.
The film features the first members of the British women’s suffrage movement.
Although Meryl borrowed the lines from women’s rights activist, Emmeline Pankhurst’s 1913 speech, it triggered intense media furor with Twitter and other social networks buzzing on Streep’s racial insensitivity.
In a sense, I can understand what Meryl Streep was trying to articulate. However, the tone deafness remains astounding.— A.D. Fields (@_CoolTableNerd) February 11, 2016
Her critics expressed disappointment, while others felt that the media distorted the comment out of context.
According to The Guardian, many considered the quote had “connotations of the American history of slavery and Confederate rebellion.”
Others took Streep’s comments positively.
Meryl is a three-time Oscar winner and one of the most admired actresses in her league.
The controversy assumes significance on the backdrop of the all-white Oscar acting nominees this year. Apparently, Meryl’s comments does not relate the Oscars, but her comments fuelled the #OscarsSoWhite discussion in Twitter and media outlets.
Following Meryl’s “all African” uproar, The New York Times also featured a post highlighting the “underrepresentation of blacks and women in front of and behind the camera.”
Despite Meryl Streep’s clarification on the controversy surrounding her comments at the Berlin Film Festival, it looks like the debate on inclusion, diversity, and discrimination is going to smolder for some time.
Race, gender, ethnicity, and religion are reportedly sensitive topics and when celebrities like Meryl Streep share opinions on such issues, the controversy gains currency.
Do you think Meryl Streep’s elaborate explanation is likely to influence her critics compared to out-of-context “we’re all Africans” stand?
[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]