Mahershala Ali from “Green Book” and John David Washington from “BlacKkKlansmen” were featured on Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series and shared much of their personal experiences in the world of professional acting. In particular, both famed actors agreed that the stereotypes are there when it comes to being African American in Hollywood and Mahershala points out how the the press in interviews don’t allow black actors the same platform to discuss the art of the work rather than discuss diversity.
Ali states to Washington, “There’s only so much bandwidth in an interview, only so much space. Forty percent of my interview is usually around things of diversity or color. You get to the questions about the work or the process so far down the line that you almost don’t get to exhaust it.”
He continued by stating that white actors don’t get asked race questions and are enabled to talk more about their work and artistic processes, unlike black actors. He said, “actors who are white are never asked those questions, so they got all this runway to talk about the work.”
Washington jokingly follows up Ali’s statement with, “What’s it like to be a white actor?” before giving Ali praise on his accomplishments and explaining to him what his 2017 Oscar win for “Moonlight” represents to “people who look like us that are saying, ‘oh wait, I can do it. Even if it ain’t acting.’”
In another segment, Ali asked Washington, “Do you feel like your spiritual consciousness dictates that you draw lines for yourself?” Pretty much asking does his religious beliefs controlling the roles or projects he gets involved with. Washington stated, “It directly impacts basically everything I do — especially this arts and crafts. That being said, when I think about boundaries, I’m bounding Him as well, bounding God. His possibilities are limitless, so should be the explorative freedoms of creativity.”
Ali brought up a perspective that many fans and those not in the acting world would understand…does press give black actors the same amount of dialogue to promote their work during interviews as they do white actors, WITHOUT bringing up race? Have you noticed this in interviews? Speak on it!