It’s time for another round of Heroes and Zeros. The winner this week is an actor that gets the importance of the diversity talk in Hollywood. The zero is a reporter who needs a little more “bedside manner.”
Hero – Ed Skrein
If there ever were a time for people in high places to stand up for the right things, now is that moment. I know that there are a lot of situations going on in the world and by far, those in real need of help are always on our minds, but even in the midst of disasters, the small things (in comparison to, ya know, deadly hurricanes and all) should still be acknowledged. That’s why this week’s hero is Ed Skrein for turning down the role of Major Ben Daimio in an upcoming Hellboy film because the character is a Japanese-American and he’s not.
This is what allies look like in this fight for diversity and representation in Hollywood. It’s an age-old conversation I suppose; the need for all peoples of all colors, sizes, genders, lifestyles and more to be seen on the big and small screens. And by “age old” I mean, pretty much, from the dawn of Tinseltown time. But just because it’s something that we seem to talk about often, doesn’t mean much has changed about it. Now, don’t get me wrong, people of color (POC) have come a long way in getting their just do, but there are still times, way too many of them, when Hollywood gets it all the way wrong. Thank you Ed Skrein for not having to be pressured into passing on the role in a very popular franchise. To top it all off, his comments about his decision are inspired. He tweeted,
“…It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voices in the Arts… It is our responsibility to make moral decisions in difficult times and to give voice to inclusivity.”
This is an example that other allies can follow in the fight for proper racial equality. There is an overwhelming need to remain relative in Hollywood; in particular, for women. I get it, but at what expense must that need be fulfilled. I guess my biggest problem with the diversity issue in Hollywood is the way actors, mainly white ones, don’t seem to care. It’s the dismissiveness that they exude about their privilege of having access that is extremely problematic. Nonetheless, the more actors like Skrien realizes the positive implications these kinds of actions have on the bigger picture, the quicker things will change. When it comes down to it, as per just about everything else in life, POC can bring it up, but white allies are the ones who can help move it along with their influence.
For being a superstar and taking a big risk, Ed Skrein is an absolute hero.
Zero – CNN Reporter Rosa Flores
All across America, people’s hearts are breaking for what’s happened in Houston, TX. A devastating hurricane has all but wiped out parts of one of the biggest states in the country. People have lost their homes. Many have lost their businesses and others, sadly, their lives. Those of us with a heart know that the last thing Houstonians need is insensitivity toward their plight. That’s why CNN reporter Rosa Flores is this week’s zero because during a news segment, instead of showing concern, her line of questioning was opportunistic in nature and people have a problem with that.
One of the things that really grinds my gears about the media is their constant push to get “the story.” I mean, I get it, but I don’t always agree with it. I know that breaking news is what makes the world go round, but when people are fighting for the lives against a natural disaster as horrendous as flooding, get interesting, engaging and “one of a kind” b-roll with cameras all in their faces is not the best look.
This reporter showed a lack of understanding in a time when showing oneself empathetic was of the upmost importance. The woman Flores interviewed rightfully so called her out on her line of questioning. That’s what people have to do when these situations happen. Reporters who are so hell bent on getting the story at any costs make the field an opportunistic one indeed. I am all for people getting things done for the sake of their careers, but sometimes it’s okay to be in the moment for the sake of being a human and not for advancement.
Reporters are people, and they should use that aspect of who they are more often when they interact with subjects. Rosa Flores missed the mark for lacking common decency in a time that called for it most.