Joaquin Phoenix calls BAFTA out on "systemic racism" in film

Joaquin Phoenix attending the after show party for the 73rd British Academy Film Awards. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 2, 2020. See PA story SHOWBIZ Bafta. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

Joaquin Phoenix received the best leading actor award at the British Academy Film Awards on February 2, 2020. As he received his award he gave a scathing speech that called out the film industry on it’s biases.”We send a very clear message to people of color, that you are not welcome here. I think thats the message were sending to people who have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.” said Phoenix

Phoenix is shining the light on an ongoing problem in the film industry. In 2016 the Oscars were called to task when an #OscarsSoWhite movement/boycott was started. In that year all 20 actors nominated in the lead and supporting acting categories are white.

The biases that exist in the film industry are engrained in the fabric of white supremacy. Phoenix addresses this in his speech “We have to really do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.” he said. He also mentions he has been part of the problem.

The Oscars seemed to be headed down the same road this year when the nominees were being announced for the 92 annual show. Cynthia Erivo quickly shifted that narrative with her best actress nomination for Harriet. That helps the Oscars avoid the shutout but still does not fully address the lack of diversity. Many actors have require inclusion riders in their contracts to address diversity on the set before they take roles. This is a direct response to business as usual and holds studios accountable.

Actors and actresses like Ben Affleck, Frances Mcdermott, Matt Damon and Michael B. Jordan have all adopted this practice to create a more equitable and fair industry. On March 7, 2018 Michael B Jordan announced from his instagram that his company Outlier Society would be adopting the inclusion rider. “In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society. I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.” posted Jordan

Take a look at Jaoquin’s speech below.

Stream “It’s On Me” by Precise

Are you a Rapper or a Nigger? – 12 Years A Slave

12-Years-A-Slave-Movie

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when it came to this movie. When it comes to movies that have the intention of telling the story of the African American Holocaust/Slavery I find that something always seems to be missing. The depictions are watered down. “The Butler” which is a great movie is an example of this. The African American Holocaust/Slavery and Civil Rights can not be summed up in stock videos and a few pictures of Harriet Tubman and Dr King. It is a complex, layered, and gruesome history that must be told in its totality.

“12 Years A Slave” does an exceptional job at pulling the curtain back on the history of America when it comes to its mired past.

**SPOILER ALERT (Not really)**

“12 Years A Slave” is based on a true story from the 1853 biography of Solomon Northup. Solomon Northup played by Chiwetel Ejiofor was a FREE BLACK MAN from Sarasota Springs New York, who was kidnapped while he was in Washington DC in 1841 and was sold into slavery. He spent 12 yrs as a slave.

There were a few scenes that stood out. One scene in particular involved Solomon who was renamed Platt after he became a slave. William Ford his master at the time was having difficulty moving lumber down the narrow Indian Creek in Louisiana. Platt explained to him that he could build log rafts and use those to ship his lumber down the creek. As he was giving his explanation one of the overseers Tibeats was looking extremely confused and jealous because of Platt’s extensive knowledge. William Ford looks at Tibeats and explains how he is impressed with Platt’s knowledge. Tibeats turns to Platt and asks him “Are you an engineer or a nigger?”

12-years-a-slave-paul-dano-600That specific question resonated with me specifically because of the hyper racial society we live in now.

Solomon/Platt maintained a dignity that seems to be lacking in our society today.

In  2013 we have people who are comfortable with being called and labeled niggers. We are bombarded with buffoonery. Many times the worst examples of who we are broadcast throughout the world as a representation of our culture.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand.

filesWhen I tell people Im a rapper I get a look from them….a confused look. :-/ They may say “You don’t look like a rapper.” or ” Where is all of your jewelry?”. I could go on and on with the assumptions and judgements people make with respect to me being a rapper, but that would take up my entire post.

I come from a school of thought that understands the ability that all of us have as human beings. I represent a culture that at its best is truly the voice of who we are. We educate, we learn, we have fun and influence the world.

I feel like Hip Hop has been enslaved for the past 20+ years and its time to free ourselves. We must never forget who we are. We can never forget our purpose.

Our purpose is to change the world.

I am a Rapper not a nigger.

Who are you?

-Precise

Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Share your insight below. I really would like to know what you think. Leave a comment below and share.

Listen/Buy my song “It’s On Me” produced by Tye Hill and Dj Thunder below.