Category Archives: Interviews

Racism in Entertainment

Racism in the Entertainment Industry

Racism seems to be running rampant in the Entertainment industry.  African-American actors find it difficult finding quality roles with equal pay.  According to the British-Zimbabwean actress Thandie Newton, she told the Belfast Telegraph that “the industry is  two-faced, with double standards and is overflowing with racism.”

In the film industry, Tyler Perry has faced lots of criticism for his films and its stereotypical roles, yet, his film Temptation has grossed over 21.6 million opening weekend, and overall his films has grossed over 630 million world-wide. Why has he been so successful? According to Huffington Post, Hollywood has made it possible for Perry to pull from a pool of great black talent, due Hollywood’s soft racism and the lack of quality roles and equal pay as their white counterparts.

On the positive side, Tyler’s success has created opportunities not only for actors, but for behind the scenes crew positions as well.  For years Hollywood kept up the existing state of affairs by maintaining the idea that black films do not have international value, and that’s why they feel that they can pay black actors less money.

According to Cuba Gooding Jr., he mentioned how George Lucas used Tyler Perry as an example of how black directors can force Hollywood to take notice.  However, Perry still has to fight an uphill battle finding advertisers and distributors.  Michael Jackson appeared at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network headquarters in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood and told the crowd that the music industry cheated and stole from artists, especially black artists and specifically targeted “Tommy Mottola, saying that he is mean, a racist, and he’s very, very, very devilish.”

Marc williams

Marc Williams, Atlanta Playwright by way of Rochester N.Y, discussion on racism in entertainment (c) 2013 Photo courtesy of Marc Williams.

Lorenzo Marc Williams, writer, director, playwright and journalist, straight out of the “A” by way of Rochester N.Y. Williams is making his mark in the Atlanta area.  He explains how his love of writing goes all the way back to his elementary school years as a skilled creative writer with a colorful imagination.  He says “as he grew, his writing grew, and he never put the pen down.”  Williams’s creative thinking eventually evolved and developed his writing ability into poetry.

Not long after, he began furthering his career as a writer, playwright and journalist. As an up & coming playwright, Williams has experienced his fair share of racism, particularly from the media. He found that getting media coverage has become a real challenge due to having a black production. He also understands that having a black production that’s not of five star statuses is why he faces the obstacle of gaining support for advertisement and media exposure.   However, that has not stopped Williams from moving forward.  With the will to keep going like so many other struggling African-American talents, Williams understand that there’s more than one way to skin a cat and being a man of strength & conviction, he uses ingenuity to kick in the back door to create his own lot in life.

 

 

Leonard Beaty, Muscian, and Keyboard Player

Leonard Beaty, Muscian, and Keyboard Player in Atlanta, Georgia by way of Rochester N.Y

Leonard Beaty, another one of Atlanta’s own.  Beaty is a native of Rochester N.Y., and a self-taught full-time keyboard player with 20yrs experience under his belt.  Beaty is a successful musician who’s making a name for himself in the Atlanta area and on the music scene.  Playing the keyboards have been a long time passion of his since the age of five.  Beaty has found major success since being in Atlanta and has toured the world and worked with several major gospel and R&B acts. Whether locally or on the road traveling, Beaty states that he has not experienced racism personally, but has seen it and knows that it exists.  However, he also says “that the bulk of his opposition comes mostly from his own people.”  Beaty’s goal is “to make an impact on the lives of young children through music.”

And what about the Job Market?

In today’s world not much has changed when it comes to racism, like the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same.   According to Newsone for Black America, they state that in today’s job market, the unemployment rate fell 7.5 percent, but has remained at 13.2 percent for African-Americans.  Not to mention the fact that due to the Sequestrations role in budget cuts limitations, reports indicates that nearly 11,000 workers across the board including federal, state and local government workers are feeling the job loss of black unemployment, which continues to be nearly double the national average.

Is it Racism or Favoritism? You do the Math

According to Nancy DiTomaso, a professor and vice dean for faculty research and professor of management and global business at Rutgers Business School of Newark and New Brunswick.  Also the author of the book “The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism.”  The book claims that we put too much of our focus on racial inequalities and unfairness of the black race by the white race, rather than putting our attention on the fact that the real act of racial inequality is characterized by whites doing good things for other whites, which can be looked at as favoritism. Can whites hiring whites be called racial discrimination or favoritism?  Can it be the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know”?

 

 

 

Tough Times Make Tough People

 L.A. Jackson embodies this old adage in just five words

  “Never Let the Dream Die”  

L.A Jackson

L.A Jackson Profile Story (c) 2013 Photo by Mike Blocker         Keep It Moving

L.A. Jackson, is a native of Kingston Jamaica, the capital of Jamaica.  He also speaks the native language called Jamaican Patois.  Jackson say’s Bob Marley is his idol because he demonstrated to him that It’s OK to be Jamaican and still accomplish your goals”.  Jackson’s motto has always been  Keeping It Moving”

The Early Years                                                                                                                              

As a young child in the mid 60’s, Jackson and his family relocated to Brooklyn New York where he grew up. He has a close relationship with his brother and sister.  His mother was a housekeeper and his father was the superintendent of the apartment building where they lived.   Jackson experienced the culture shock of racism or what some may call reverse racism. It was disturbing to young Jackson because it came from  his own race.  However, he was considered an outsider due to his Jamaican heritage; living in the ghetto around other children of color Jackson had no understanding of why he was teased, spat on and called crude names.

Although he faced discouraging opposition from his peers, he remained optimistic and used that opposition as his source of motivation to catapult himself to the next level. In the third grade he was placed in the (IGC) Intellectually Gifted Children program for three years in a row and by the fifth grade was made Valedictorian of his school.  His mentor and fifth grade teacher Bernard Percy saw great potential in Jackson and made him a contributing author to his nationally published books, including (How to Grow a Child: A child’s advice to parents, The Power of Creative Writing and Help your child).

From 1984-1994, Jackson spent 10 yrs marketing Columbia, Epic and Def Jam Records for Sony Music. In 2001, he executive produced the Atlanta Artist Against Violence CD, for the “Million Mom March Foundation” following the murder of a friend, DeKalb County Sheriff, Derwin Brown. This project lead him to manage Baba Oje, formerly of the musical group Arrested Development.

Today

Jackson is President and Co-founder of Peach City Records in Atlanta and head of the marketing & sales dept. Jackson spends a major part of his day on the phone, online, and going to meetings & events.   He met Wade Jones at a music studio and they immediately connected and in less than a year formed a business partnership. According to Wade Jones Co-Founder/CEO, of Peach City Records,  “L.A is enthusiastic and energetic; he follows through on his great ideas and don’t mind sharing his expertise.”  He also states that “he has the gift of gab and knows how to rub elbows.” L.A. recently wrote his own seven series book called Musicology 2101. To further promote the book, he’s planning a book tour that includes musical groups.

Jackson have his hands full in several ventures, including his MKM Multi-Media Works company which oversees the media production of music, audio visual, home theater and sales of books & merchandise.  He’s also a member of the (NARIP) National Association of Record Industry Professionals, as well as the (GMIA) Georgia Music Industry Association.

Jackson’s favorite quote:

2013 COVER 

 “Everything Turns Out Right in the End.  If it isn’t Right, It isn’t the End”