Say It Loud....
As a black, female, casting director, actress, director, for stage and screen, it’s … interesting to observe the current furore around #oscarssowhite.
From this English woman’s perspective: “we are quite Bemused”! Finally, a clamorous noise is being made in Hollywood. Be it roles for women, recognition for black artists, or pay differentials and the gender gap, I hear the clarion call for equal recognition. In my guild, the Casting Society of America, there are a total of about 600 of us in the US. The CSA Board is fighting to get recognition for casting directors within the Motion Picture Academy. Casting Directors get minimal recognition for the work that we do. In terms of recognition heaven help those casting directors that happen to be female and black. Fortunately for me, Heaven usually does! I have to maintain a sense of humor because as a newly-minted US citizen, when I see protests and placards, in 2016, extolling the fact that “black lives” do actually matter, I am at best … puzzled. When did we forget that fact? It is a bizarre thing to me but then, I am biased. I am black.
The truth is LIFE matters. Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Human LIFE matters.
A fellow CD in LA is scrambling to cast a show. Suddenly diversity’s a must, producers and directors only want African American actors. “We’ve run out of black actors”, we joked conspiratorially. I dropped into a webinar the other day and learned that I, as a black woman, am suddenly at a premium! Why? Because society’s collective amnesia has been re-addressed by placards and protests? And for how long do I have the 'privilege' of this premium status, I wonder to myself?
We are NOT amused
We Refuse to Keep Calm and Carry On; (I think Queen B would agree.)
At the time of writing I am enjoying my perennial retreat on the Oregon Coast, just before gearing up for the 3rd season of Sy Fy’s Z Nation. In past years my close friends and followers have cheered me on to the coast knowing that it is my place of ultimate RnR. One dear friend noticed that I ‘fuss less’ when I am here. This particular retreat is especially needed and welcomed. Two and a half months ago I underwent major surgery and deeply traumatic life-changing events. Overnight I began to experience the darkest and most haunting period of my adult life. I have felt profound sadness and what I can only describe as unchecked grief. That said the journey has also transformed me yes; and deepened me and my practice in significant and subtle ways. Mostly my inner being has magnified in ways that I could never have foreseen, imagined or welcomed.
Just before my operation I moved from Spokane to Seattle and earlier this month I opened a stunning new casting studio in West Seattle. For almost three decades I have worked with actors and other artists to take their craft and their lives to levels of achievement and success that they actually dreamed of. I have done this globally. A few days after my operation I decided to evolve my global reach and add Humanitarian and relief work, to my bucket list. I am also creating powerful, exciting talks and seminars that will inspire and motivate Everyone (not just actors) to do great and magical things in their own Lives. We are all actors in our own lives, ultimately. Of course Shakespeare said it first:
Jacques: "All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts" (As You Like It: Act 2 Sc 7)
For now, I find great peace here on the Oregon Coast, as I go on my walking meditations, cry with relief and gratitude, and listen to the Ocean’s magnificent roar. I also reflect on the the futility of waiting for “Hollywood” or anyone to acknowledge that
completely shattered and now beautifully re-invented - again
(all that it has been, and all that it will be),
iMatter. My Being Matters.
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