Matt Damon tried it all while embodying White privilege in the process. Sunday was the fourth season premiere of HBO’s Project Greenlight, which is a Matt Damon and Ben Affleck initiative where they give first time filmmakers the chance to make a movie.
They get a group of successful producers to help them choose their finalists. The group consisted of mostly White men and one White woman.
The finalists get to meet with the producers in person in LA. At these meetings, they introduce Effie Brown, a Black woman with years of experience as a Hollywood producer. She has produced 17 feature films, including Dear White People (go figure).
Effie is the only person of color in the group, and definitely understands that she’s responsible for any rational attempts at diversity. She recalls growing up in the ’70s where most of the time when she saw Black people in films, they were playing gangsters, criminals and prostitutes, and explains that she is passionate about making films where marginalized people get to shine.
During a discussion about one of the films, Brown states that she’s worried that the only Black person in the entire movie is a prostitute who is slapped by her white pimp, and suggests that the other people in the room pay more attention to who they hire to direct a character like that.
“You’re looking at this group right here and who you’re picking and the story that you’re doing,” she says calmly. And then…Matt Damon interrupts Brown in order to explain diversity to her and then argues that the less diverse directing teams brought up the same issue that she brought up about the prostitute character
Here’s a snippet: