Samuel L. Jackson is the kind of seasoned actor you really want to listen most of the time since he makes a lot of sense when he talks, but his words concerning the impact of Black Panther on Hollywood are kind of interesting. He’s not against the movie by any means, as that would not only make him a hypocrite but it would probably anger his fans a bit. Instead he’s very positive about how the movie has managed to influence Hollywood and that it’s a step in the right direction for films being led by African-Americans. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not the endgame all on its own.
He has a point really. There wasn’t much surprise that Black Panther was a well-received movie, but its continued success the weeks after its release was a welcome surprise. But overall the movie, as positive as it was in moving forward with putting people of color in lead roles where they could guide the movie, is just one step of many that need to be taken. Jackson has taken the lead in many films at this point and knows very well that the disparity between a film driven by a white cast versus that of a black cast is still very real. The diversity needed in films is starting to come through, but Black Panther is a push in the right direction, not the final push that was needed to get over the hill.
Jackson had this to say:
“I’m not positive that Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world. It’s an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they’ll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience — that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.”
Black Panther is one aspect of films that is changing the landscape, but it’s not the only one that needs to occur in order to bring a more enlightened feel to Hollywood. In order to do this various films across many genres will need to start taking on a much more diverse feel and look if they’re to really show a positive trend towards equality and a sense that people are starting to be treated equally when it comes to exposure and how they’re presented in movies. Black Panther has created a marker that will likely be further explored and used in the times to come as the movies continue to change and offer a wider array of actors and personalities to play with, but as of now it’s one of the better movies to have come out in a while.
It’s just the beginning though.