Chris Rock is not only one of our favorite comedians, he also has an impressive resume of TV shows and films that he’s starred in and produced. While he may be a household name with over 30 years in the business, Chris says that even with his star power attached to a project, it’s difficult to get Hollywood executives to produce it if a black actress is in a leading role.
In his cover story for the March issue of ESSENCE Magazine, Chris talks about Hollywood’s blatant issues with diversity. Ironically, the interview took place in December 2015 prior to the height of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy but the host of the upcoming Academy Awards show talks about his fear of not putting on a great show.
Check out an excerpt from the interview below.
The 51-year-old comedian also reflects on the challenges facing Black actresses in Hollywood. “I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be Black?’ It happens every time,” he says. “Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”
So what has he done about the disparity? “I think everything I’ve ever done has had a significant role for a Black or brown woman. I refuse not to,” he says. “I’ve never gone into battle without a Black woman, you know, a movie battle. With Tichina Arnold in Everybody Hates Chris, I had to fight for Tichina. I’m not even going to tell you who the network wanted. She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks. They’re like, ‘Tichina who’?’”
We are definitely picking up a copy of “The Hollywood Issue” of Essence Magazine when it hits newsstands on Feb 12.