Black Women Run Hollywood is a satirical video posted June 22, 2014 on Youtube, which ridicules racial inequality in the entertainment industry by ironically depicting power as being concentrated in a group of black women despite real world concerns about the lack of diversity in films and systemic discrimination in the entertainment industry. In the video, an African-American actress is taken to a secret underground lair to learn the truth behind Hollywood’s leaders. Actresses Meagan Good, Alfre Woodard, Retta, and Loretta Devine attempt to recruit Jurnee Smollett into their “secret society.” Before Journee agrees to join, the ringleaders of the group ask questions that establish the reasons behind their organization’s existence: Have you ever wondered why black women play such minor roles in movies? Or why black women are not directors or producers?
Many of the events, questions, and suggestions in the skit are based on various stereotypes of race and gender. For instance, near the end of the clip when Jurnee is about to leave the “secret society,” she is told she will soon have a role as George Clooney’s sister’s nanny. Despite this reference to a minimal and stereotypical role, the women in the video still attribute world control to black women by highlighting their control of media. According to them, a way to maintain power is by dominating Hollywood, one of the sources of media creation, because media, the video asserts, is a way to influence others to act in the way you want them to.
The five-minute skit was created by comedy website FunnyOrDie which features celebrities speaking about various serious issues in a humorous or satirical way.
What underlying issues about racial and gender media representations does this video discuss? How does the film make specific references to these issues?
How does the clip use satire and comedy to speak about systemic discrimination in the entertainment industry?
What do you think about the clip’s characterization of the power and influence of media? How does media have the ability to influence people? How can people resist or challenge these representations?