It’s no secret that Hollywood, as an industry, has been slow to represent Black culture and real Black narratives on screen. #OscarsSoWhite flagged that issue at the level of prestige pictures and spurred some reflection on just how white it still is, both in front of and behind the camera.
But that problem becomes even more complicated: Within Blackness, there is cultural diversity and Hollywood’s portrayals tend to flatten them. Afro-Caribbean culture in particular is rarely depicted on screen, even though the United States is one of the largest regions of the Caribbean diaspora.
Recently, a group of filmmakers gathered for “Belonging,” a short film screening and panel at L.A.’s Soho House. Their mission: to create more space for Caribbean heritage to shine in the entertainment industry. As discussed by the panelists throughout the evening, the future of Black representation will be more nuanced with the inclusion of Caribbean voices.
“Growing up, what I saw of Black identity on screen was always through an African American lens,” says Sadé Clacken Joseph, an award-winning filmmaker and pilot director of the upcoming series “RAP SH!T.” “It was almost as if there weren’t any other experiences of Blackness in this country to be had.”
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