Chris Rock pens essay on racism in Hollywood: 'It's a white industry'

The comedian and actor asserts that “there aren’t that many black people to turn to in Hollywood”

Ella Alexander
Thursday 04 December 2014 15:11

Chris Rock has addressed what he perceives to be racism in film.

He claims that Hollywood is a “white industry” and there isn’t enough support for black men trying to break into film.

“It’s a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry,” Rock told Hollywood Reporter. “I'm not even saying it's a bad thing. It just is. And the black people they do hire tend to be the same person.

“That person tends to be female and that person tends to be Ivy League. And there's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that's what I want for my daughters. But something tells me that the life my privileged daughters are leading right now might not make them the best candidates to run the black division of anything.”

Rock recalls that it was Eddie Murphy who took him under his wing when he first started his career, giving him a role in Beverly Hills Cop II. Now, an established comedian and actor himself, Rock tried to offer support to other aspiring black men trying to forge their path in Hollywood.

“I'd do the same for a young white guy, but here's the difference: Someone's going to help the white guy. Multiple people will,” he said. “The people whom I've tried to help, I'm not sure anybody was going to help them.”

He says he’s approached by those who want him to watch their act, but also for advice about agents, managers, how to deal with the media and money, and where best to live.

“It's big brother shit, and they ask because there aren't that many black people to turn to,” said Rock.

“Who do you hire? Where's the big black PR agency? Where are the big black agents? Where's the big black film producer?”

But it’s not just men who suffer racism in cinema, he claims, it’s women too, arguing that roles for black women are limited to say the least.

“There are almost no black women in film,” he said. “You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They'll throw a black guy a bone. OK, here's a black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors? I'm not sure there are. I don't remember them.”

Rock has also recently spoken about his criticism of the Ferguson verdict, his sadness at the recent Bill Cosby allegations and addressed the debate for more officers to be fitted with body cameras in order to prevent violent outbursts.

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