If you thought Vanity Fair’s ode to the current lineup of late night hosts was jarring — shocking in its erasure of all things diverse — then congratulations, you’ve just gotten a whiff of how it feels to be a black woman. Welcome to the dark side, an alternate universe where talent is minimized if not ignored, underappreciated, and where black women are made to feel lucky for any chance of advancement.
Feels weird, doesn’t it? Vanity Fair was just doing its due diligence as the stuffy entertainment publication of note, in sharing with the world that most of the choices for late night TV this fall are nearly identical: white, male, and inadvertently white-washed black male, as the Los Angeles Times put it. All of which reminds me why I always go to bed promptly at 11pm (nothing new to see here folks.)
However, when Vanity Fair led with the headline, “Why Late-Night Television Is Better Than Ever,” in the accompanying article, they seem to agree with shutting the door on talented men and women of different races and cultures.
It is hard being a black woman. We’re automatically characterized as the video vixen or the basketball wife, or the angry single mother. Meanwhile, most of us in the real world are breaking those stereotypical holds by furthering our education, starting businesses, and fiercely climbing the corporate ladder.
Just the other night, Matt Damon had the gall to tell a celebrated black director what she knows about diversity during the 4th season premiere of his show “Project Greenlight.” Effie Brown, who is the mastermind behind “Dear White People,” made a futile attempt to bring forth the racial undertones that exists with having a black prostitute as a sole character to represent diversity in a big budget film.
Damon’s argument? “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show,” he says to undermine her God-given ability as a diverse producer.
This is the problem with society and why Vanity Fair only has mostly white men to celebrate in its magazine. If black women speak up we’re combative, but if we’re quiet we keep our jobs.
We live in a society where we have to pretend that we like Jimmy Kimmel, the same white man who shed actual tears for a lion in Zimbabwe in lieu of the poor Americans who die in the streets daily.
It’s exhausting to continue to try to beat down a locked door. White men tend to become defensive when you bring up their disregard for inclusion and diversity.
My hope is that the Steven Spielbergs and the Martin Scorseses of the world would take a moment to walk in our shoes.
Black culture is dope as fuck.
We continue to see artists like Iggy Azalea and Justin Bieber nibble at it, but I open the door for any white executive to fully embrace our culture. Just let us guide you. Allow us to tell our stories — without getting defensive or feeling anxious about the editing process (cough, Ben Affleck).