As Gina Prince-Bythewood gears up for the launch of her action-packed Netflix film, The Old Guard, the veteran director is sharing her thoughts on the recent push for equity and inclusion in Hollywood.
Following the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announcement that Ava DuVernay had been elected to their Board of Governors — bringing their 54-person board to 26 women and 12 people of color — Bythewood says the recent additions are great, but just the tip of the iceberg of what needs to be done in the film industry.
“I have absolutely been in a sustained fight for 20 years, fighting to put Black women up on screen,” Bythewood tells ABC Audio. “They are absolutely the hardest films to get made. And I’m tired.”
The director’s fight includes more than just getting Black women on the screen, she wants those stories told by them as well.
“Every time I feel like we’ve moved somewhere… then the numbers come out,” Bythewood says. “In 2019, the number of Black female screenwriters who had a film put into the world was four percent.”
“That means that our image is being seen through a white lens,” she explains. “It’s not our lens, it’s not our authentic selves. And that is so troubling.”
Still, Bythewood acknowledges there has been some progress, noting that for the “first time in her career” it wasn’t “a fight” to get her next two major projects “focused on Black women” made.
“So I’m hoping that this is an absolute movement…and recognition of how complicit Hollywood has been,” Bythewood continues. “Not only in the images that they have put out that have weaponized our blackness, but the images that they haven’t put out in making Black women especially invisible.”
“So I am remaining hopeful, but also ready to still fight,” she adds.
By Candice Williams
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