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Gregory Allen Howard Breaks Down Hollywood’s Whitewashing Of Black Icons

August 7th, 2014

hollywood-whitewashed

“Who’s going to tell these stories — The children of the Civil Rights struggle – or – a bunch of strangers? That’s really what this boils down to.” -Gregory Allen Howard

One of Hollywood’s very own leading Black screenwriters stands firmly behind his words. HSK recently published Gregory Allen Howard’s essay “The Whitewashing of James Brown” — which exposes segregation behind Hollywood’s movie surrounding the life of The Godfather of Soul, citing segregation between the film’s all-white production team and its Black actors.

Howard — the brainchild behind the “Remembering The Titans” screenplay — has since spoken out for a second time, explaining why it’s critical for Black writers to be the ones to tell the stories of our Black icons.

“This wall that’s been going on — the discrimination of Black writers — goes back over 40-years. David Wolper just happened to be honest… the producer of “Roots” 40-years-ago… he said, “I’m not hiring Black writers because they’re too close to the material.” Yeah, he’s right. I AM THE MATERIAL.. and I need to be at the table… I need to be in the room… and other Black writers need to be in the room… so they can bring some truth to these stories.”

Peep what Gregory Allen Howard breaks it all down:

“James Brown was a Civil Rights icon. He meant so much to me and millions of other African Americans (then called ‘Black’ because of James, thank you).

This is not a specific criticism of this movie. I want to make that very clear. In tough times — and these are tough times in the business, let’s be honest — people close ranks and help each other out, help their friends out. Well don’t help your friends out with my Black icons. These icons meant something to me and millions of Black people and we need to be included in the storytelling. It’s as simple as that.

Racism hasn’t gone away, just because Barack Obama’s sitting in the White House. Racism is alive and well. That hasn’t taken away the racism that still exists in America. It’s in the DNA of America, it’s in the very fabric. But my thing is — and what I tried to do in The Titans is — the way to deal with it is to deal with it. Don’t sweep it under the carpet, don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, deal with it honestly.

I also proved… I think, at least… that you can make a commercial movie that deals with race honestly. Don’t take it out, deal with it upfront. I deal with it, of course. I’m on a different level and it’s, frankly at my level, a little more subtle… but I see it.

This is not a plee for me to get work. There are other very qualified Black writers — two Academy Award-winners, multiple other Black writers with awards as well. And for them not to be involved in any of the King projects or any of these other icon movies — it’s staggering to the imagination, this kind of discrimination against Black writers goes on even today… in otherwise “liberal” Hollywood.”

Check out the Howard’s entire interview:




43 Responses to “Gregory Allen Howard Breaks Down Hollywood’s Whitewashing Of Black Icons”

  1. DaRadiant1 |

    He is right! And I said it too! How in the hell a white person can tell a black person he is too close to the material? Wellll duhhhh…If U want to know about the struggle of a black person, why not go to the source and get it right! Damn, its not that hard to do. But for a white writer to sit there and write a black person and their struggle is totally bogus! U damn right I said it and I’ll say it again! There isn’t a white person know what a black person went through unless they asses are black! Kiss my black ass!

    [Reply]

    To Be or Not To Be Reply:

    White ppl do not want to or care about black stuggles. Whites want/like to put their own spin on things. Hell Blacks don’ t care about Blacks

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    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    That’s the problem, if a white writer want the real truth, he or she needs to go to the one source to be absolutely correct. The black folks. Just because U said we don’t care about our race, that don’t justified the fact that we don’t need nobody to lie on us just because. I want that writer to be on point with our lives instead of painting this house of visage and thinking it will work. Think again. If U want to write a biopic about me, dead or alive, then damnit go to the source and be real about it.

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    Cosign, DaRadiant

    [Reply]

    barbard Reply:

    The word TRUTH and N*GGHAD dont belong in the same sentence. The average N*GGAH today will sell their soul and their children’s future for
    A dollar OR
    A hit of crack
    That’s why you see the fools conspiring to convince the world that beyonce is the greatest thing since sliced bread. THEY’RE PAID to say that.

    They do NOT need to be in charge of any history, on any person place or thing, because they’ll tell any lie to get a dollar.

    [Reply]

    barbard Reply:

    They’re paid and they r all such sheep that being politically correct is more important than TRUTH and excellence.

    [Reply]

  2. Anonymous |

    Now lets see if *juice mane* makes a comment on thus thread. What this man said is exactly what i was saying in the article about lil stankie . This man is right on point about everything he’s saying, Hollywood is slowly taking and white washing black creativity. Those milestones TPTB in Hollywood allowed was to make us comfortable with the obvious take over of other black entertainers craft. Which is why most black celebs leave the way they came in, broke. But you don’t hear of that happening to much on the white side of Hollywood. I really don’t pity any black artist, cause they should do their homework before going into the industry that was built to only benefit white stars. Most of white Hollywood is bloodlines of the old Hollywood, blacks want allowed in until 70 years later after it was started and still was treating like the help. Blacks get their material , image and swag jack by contract while any white entertainer sit at the table to form partnerships. When will negroes learn our people didn’t conquer this land, form this government or made it’s rules, which is to be respected, however it’s up to the majority to change. White majority need to change not cause we (AA) demand it but cause they see a need to change themselves.

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    To Be or Not To Be Reply:

    I’ m a bit confused. Can some1 please clarify/ explain why a post could be deleted. I thought this was a forum where 1 could freely express themselves.

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    Willie Jones jr Reply:

    I notice comments missing too..

    [Reply]

    anna Reply:

    It might be because they can only have so many comments at a time? I dont know anything about Web.pages or memory but maybe they have to free up some memory or data,.because i noticed it happens when they post new stories

    [Reply]

    Willie Jones jr Reply:

    Well specifically Juice Manes comments .

    I notice he would post (on the right hand side), but it wouldn’t show up in the comments.

    And his comments are missing from a conversation he and I had, but only mine remain.. looks like I’m talking to myself. Again.

    Maybe it was just too many comments and they needed space…

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    Anonymous Reply:

    lil stankie, ~dead~.

    You know, so much energy is expended trying to get black folks to cosign on the whitewashing of our stories and the amnesia of our history.

    I remember when Oprah Winfrey almost 15 years back did a weeklong session on racism and slavery. Those white folks were dumbfounded that a southern krakka could go into a black family’s home to rape the daughter.

    We won’t see that on the silver screen.

    But go ask TPTB to make a Holocaust movie about a Nazi guard and a jewish camp resident and you be boycotted and put on a watch list.

    Racism was a construct to legitimize the slave trade, slavery and forced miscegenation. Now, those in power want to change the construct so that we don’t speak about racism or recount Jim Crow and racism thereby eliminating the consciousness of it. If racism remains unsaid, it remains in the consciousness;and,it becomes accepted because it then can hide as something else, which it is not.

    Black children were the largest demographic of children under 15 in 2008.Now, the illegal immigrant children are flooding in to be seen as their equals and the history is being distorted so that they lose their awareness to racism.

    Hollywood is nothing but the PR branch for the ultra rich and the government.

    [Reply]

    faye Reply:

    Excellence speaks for itself, but low intellect negroes think they deserve a job for showing up in black face.

    [Reply]

  3. Anzaloqq |

    Good stuff. Please keep us informed about all of the upcoming ‘black’ projects which don’t include black writers, directors, producers, etc…
    I for one will not be attending the James Brown biopic or next year’s NWA film because of their foul casting practices. I just won’t continue to reward bad behavior.

    [Reply]

    prettypink Reply:

    I refuse to go see the James Brown White Written Movie. It is time for a change. Any Blacks from Africa writes, produce and stars in their own movies. “Nollywood”

    [Reply]

  4. Chocolate Thighs |

    james brown was a sellout coon uncle tom he spawned a child with a white old wrinkly women

    their whitewashing movies white people like to steal they been doing this since slavery they take credit

    [Reply]

  5. non importante |

    Dear god just make another version of the movie.

    [Reply]

  6. Chocolate Thighs |

    a real n1gga wouldn’t of permed their hair ain’t it strange both AL stapton and James brown permed their hair

    James brown a slave yard snitch!!!
    AL stapeton a snitchy bytchy

    perms make black people do crazy shyt their putting in haevy chemicals in the perm products

    [Reply]

    Chocolate Thighs Reply:

    typo heavy

    [Reply]

    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    Naw CT…more like threating to these two sellouts

    [Reply]

    Chocolate Thighs Reply:

    perm is ruining the black community

    [Reply]

    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    The correct word is Relaxers, but that doesn’t have an effect on a person’s brain. In that the case U might as well stop using blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons too. Chemicals do not and I repeat do not have an effect on a person’s brain. The reason that most folks are going natural because it is time consuming and causes more damage to the hair. I should know because I am a licensed stylist for the state of South Carolina.

    [Reply]

    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    Let re say this.Going natural saves time and not time consuming. Damn refreshing!

    [Reply]

    anna Reply:

    I thought it was harder to maintain natural

    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    Anna it is but the average person now these days is a shampoo and go. Damn that putting the base onto the scalp to protect the hair from being irritated from the hydrogen ion and lye. Then put the relaxer onto the new growth, smooth it out, use a neutralizer shampoo, condition the hair, put a cap on, sit under a dryer for 15 minutes , rinse, dry the hair, and style it! Whew…that done took about two hours depends on the length of the hair and the style U want. Natural… Shampoo, condition and go!

    Chocolate Thighs Reply:

    @DaRadiant1

    relaxers and weaves (horse hair) are ruining the black community. just last year in Texas a gang of young black girl/boys were stealing
    hair product from a Korean hair store

    it was embarrassing!!! black people stealing!! we already got a bad reputation already but stealing a weave in front of a camera
    was pitiful and dumb

    i’m 90% natural some parts of my hair are still relaxed. i relaxed it last year and it still hasn’t grown out!!

    [Reply]

    DaRadiant1 Reply:

    Now this I don’t understand. Here we are support Koreans in these hair stores where we can profit the same exact way. Call me a devil’s advocate on this one. But some of these Koreans and I said some need to be robbed due to their attitudes. I use to work for one couple and I almost beat the breaks off their asses! Now as U growing out your relaxer, it depends the length of your hair. It usually takes 6 months to a year. But in this case U will probably have to do what I did two weeks ago and cut the remaining relaxed hair out. I myself cut out the and half inches of what is left of relaxer. I am also taking Biotin 5000 MCG vitamins. Is your scalp itches real bad? If it does, that means it is growing. Also, I pre poo my hair before I shampoo my hair on shampoo day.

    Anonymous Reply:

    Horse hair?!! No ma’am , if it’s not human hair, then it’s plastic fibers.

  7. mon88 |

    Gregory is one intelligent brother but saying JB was a civil rights icon is a reach if anything he was used as a grand distraction by he powers that be for the civil rights movement…..other than that point i agree wholeheartedly with everything he said.

    [Reply]

  8. Shortcake |

    WHAT the fuck did you, me or ANYBODY else expect? The m.f. has ALREADY rewrote HISTORY, & U THOUGHT this was going to be ANY different? THEY rewrotebthe “BIBLE.”!!!

    [Reply]

  9. nba is fixed |

    The other urban blogs will not report this story. They will not mention Gregory Allen Howard, gee I wonder why?

    [Reply]

  10. anna |

    I wont be seeing this, i hate all the black movies exept beloved because i like dark twisted story lines. But color purple, dream girls, temptations, hearbeats, Django, precious, and everything else was garbage imo

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    I loved Django. Loved it.

    [Reply]

    anna Reply:

    the only reason i hated Django was because the violent scenes with the black people were mush more bloddy and disturbing (dog eating the man, the man dingo fight) i hated how Django was free but still had to be the white mans side kick

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Anna I agree with you about the grotesque gratuitous violence. I cannot watch those two scenes. However, I disagree with you as to the symbiotic relationship between the dentist and Django. There is nothing wrong with one person mentoring another. Django was not subservient to Schultz in any way. I thought the relationship was well written and the characters were fully fleshed out. I felt sadness when Schultz was killed and Django was clearly hurt by the loss of the man who facilitated his reunion with Broomhilda.

    [Reply]

    anna Reply:

    Dont get me wrong i absoulutly loved the dentist, and now that you put it that way i agree it was more of a partnership/mentor relationship and i was also sad when he was killed

    [Reply]

  11. Anonymous |

    HSK:

    Why are you deleting comments?

    [Reply]

    Anonymous Reply:

    It’s ruining the tone of the site.

    The threads have no organic flow because so many comments are deleted. You cannot tell who is responding to who any more.

    [Reply]

    GUF Reply:

    They came through here with a Swiffer and cleaned house on the comments. I know mine are long gone!

    [Reply]

  12. eric5000 |

    stop complaining and pool the resources we have as a people and do our black icons. You know they will cut us out if we let them.

    [Reply]

  13. shonuffiz |

    Well, things are not likely to ever change. Maybe some of us can take solace in the fact that Get On Up didn’t do much at the box office and probably won’t be seen by anyone this weekend.

    [Reply]

    dalle Reply:

    I saw it and liked it. Chadwick Boseman has some serious charisma.

    [Reply]

    non importante Reply:

    My mom is going to see it. I wonder will they talk about how much of a crazy perfectionist James was, garnishing wages of band members if they missed notes or were off count. A grade school music teacher, a Jewish man, ironically, taught our class that. He said James was a great performer because he put his all in to it. The reverse psychology didnt work on us because our trumpet section, me included, struggled the whole year and sucked bawls.

    [Reply]

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