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hollywood

Black Disabled: our place in Hollywood and Mainstream Media

Latrea Wyche/Contributing Writer

This article came from two very different places: one, me sitting at home watching a program on BET called “Black Girls Rock.” While watching this show I began thinking, why is there no representation of African-American women with disabilities, or just African Americans with disabilities period represented in mainstream media or in Hollywood. The more I thought about it the angrier I became. As an African-American woman with a disability, I want to see all aspects of me represented – and this includes in the mainstream media and Hollywood.

Sometimes I feel that African-American Hollywood events are not welcoming of African-American people with disabilities. By not actively promoting that African-American, disabled actors to play character roles of a disabled person, Hollywood continues to give an inaccurate representation of African-Americans with disabilities and takes away jobs from African-American actors with real disabilities. For example, Ray: The story of Ray Charles, Ray Charles was played by Jamie Foxx who did a wonderful job, but why couldn’t the director find an actual African American blind actor to play the part? think about how much more realistic it would have been because you would have received the experience first hand of what a blind person in the music industry deals with verses a representation of a blind person.

To me that like choosing a caucasian to play a role that was meant for an African American actor, a caucasian person has no idea what’s it is like to be black just like an able body person has no idea what it’s like to be disabled. Think of the little African American disabled children that seeing someone that looks like them on the screen, which gives them hope that it could be them one day.

My second reason for writing this article is, the feeling like I am not accepted by my culture because I am disabled. which would explain why there is no representation of African Americans with disabilities in mainstream media or Hollywood, because we are not accepted in our own culture. This not me having a pity party for myself as some would think or me feeling sorry for myself. The above statement is based on my first-hand experience and not just my experience but the experiences of many African Americans with disabilities. When I make statements like that, I usually get “don’t lump us all in the same category” or my personal favorite “some may not understand disability,” it’s 2020 we all have resources available at our fingertips to educate ourselves about various disabilities, not understanding is no longer an excuse.

Latrea Wyche

IG: CoachLatrea

Facebook: Latrea Wyche

coachlatreawyche@gmail.com

Entertainment leaders release Covid-19 production guidelines

By Brian Lowry, CNN

Updated 1:20 PM ET, Tue June 2, 2020 

(CNN)Hollywood is inching closer to getting back to work, with the entertainment industry’s guilds and unions signing off on a 22-page guideline document designed to establish safety protocols for producing movies and TV in the age of coronavirus.The agreement comes after a protracted period of negotiation among the various constituencies — including actors, directors and crews — and relies on extensive testing, temperature checks, cleaning measures and physical distancing when possible. The parties also acknowledge that revisions might be necessary going forward.Certain activities, such as writing and casting, are still encouraged to be conducted virtually whenever possible. At the same time, other parts of production — including live studio audiences — are being discouraged, with restrictions like social-distancing measures when used.Actors and other performers, the report notes, are “most vulnerable because they cannot wear PPE [personal protective equipment] when cameras are rolling, and frequently will not be able to engage in physical distancing.” That will require greater testing frequency for them and those with whom they are in close contact.Content by CNN UnderscoredRetailers are offering major sales in honor of healthcare workersIf you’re a medical professional or first responder, you can find savings on a variety of products that might make life a little easier right now.There are some activities, such as makeup and fight scenes, where stronger safeguards aren’t possible, the report acknowledges. 

Hollywood has gone dark, and it’s crushing thousands

By Anna-Maja Rappard, CNN Business

Updated 2:53 PM ET, Sun April 26, 2020 

New York (CNN Business)Hollywood is no stranger to pandemics on the big screen. But for the real life version, there is no script. On any given day during the global coronavirus pandemic, a captive audience flocks to the streaming service of choice to watch TV hit series and movies ​they missed in the theatre. But for the hundreds of thousands of craftspeople, technicians, and artisans who make up the backbone of the film and entertainment industry, livelihoods were thrown into limbo when Hollywood studios were forced to halt production.In California alone, film and entertainment production supports more than 722,000 jobs and $68 billion in wages, according to the Motion Picture Association. In the last fiscal year ending in September 2019, the industry generated over $2.4 billion in direct in-state spending, according to the California Film Commission.The pandemic proves an unprecedented challenge to the industry’s creative capital, where one in eight of all private wage and salary workers are estimated to work directly or indirectly in the creative industries, according to the latest figures from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. FilmLA, the city’s film permitting agency, announced Thursday that filming was already down 18% in the first quarter. While there were 1,091 local productions filming in Greater Los Angeles in February, by the end of March that number dropped to zero. 

“This feels like the end of an era,” Pam Elyea, who owns History for Hire, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after prop house, told CNN. The prop house shut its doors on March 16 to obey social distancing restrictions. Before the pandemic, Elyea and her staff had sourced props for Oscar-winning films winners from “The Artist” to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Even the untitled Elvis Presley biopic starring Tom Hanks, who contracted Covid-19 while filming in Australia, is among their clients. On Monday, Elyea laid off her entire staff. “We are devastated. Some of our staff hadn’t signed up for unemployment in over 20 years,” Elya told CNN Business in an interview, “It was hard, very hard.”Owners Pam and Jim Elyea took a leap of faith and recently signed a lease for five more years at their current location.Owners Pam and Jim Elyea took a leap of faith and recently signed a lease for five more years at their current location.In other corners of the industry, filmmakers are trying to envision what social distancing will mean for movie sets.Raymond Brown, a key grip who recently worked on Season 4 of Netflix’s juggernaut “Stranger Things” in Atlanta before that production was suspended in March, put it bluntly. “We are going to have to make films the same way,” he told CNN Business, “I cannot put up a large camera crane without working physically close with my team. How are you going to tell people to keep their distance?”Brown is a 33-year film veteran. He has seen many ups and downs in the industry, from the Writers Guild strike in 2007 to 2008 to the global financial crisis to natural disasters. This one is different. “Our income currently is zero dollars with no end in sight. It’s frightening,” he told CNN Business, “I am going to deplete all my savings.”Brown is a member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which represents roughly 145,000 entertainment workers working behind the scenes. In March, IATSE announced that more than 90% of its members are out of a job due to the pandemic — that’s roughly 120,000 craftspeople, technicians, and artisans. The union recently partnered with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to hand out meals to entertainment workers and is banding together with the other powerful unions to push Congress for an ambitious relief package for their freelance workforce. The film industry is a gig economy. With the seasonal nature of television shows, and the project basis of movies, making money in the industry is all ebb and flow. The vast majority of the industry workers do not enjoy the security of a steady salary. Studio executives, writers and actors with big salaries and lucrative contracts make up the minority of the business. According to the latest figures from the independent research firm Beacon Economics, the average wage for someone employed in the film sector is $98,800 in Los Angeles County compared to $90,800 nationwide. That is, if there is enough work to go around. And currently there is none. In Hollywood, studios, producers and union members are trying to find ways to resume production that abide by CDC guidelines and keep their workers safe. As if truth is stranger than fiction these days, the Directors Guild of America in April recruited “Contagion” director Steven Soderbergh to lead a task force to determine when work can resume. He will speak with epidemiologists and the guilds to help plan a path forward. When it comes to reopening for business, the state of Georgia may become a cautionary tale. The state is one of a handful in the United States that offer lucrative tax rebates for the film and entertainment industry and has become a production hub. In that state, the industry created over 45,770 jobs and more than $3.7 billion in wages in 2017 and 2018, according to the latest available figures from the Motion Picture Association, and is indirectly responsible for creating 159,110 jobs at local vendors and other business.Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen the state has filmmakers scratching their heads. “We have put so much energy into shutting down and figuring out how to open back up again,” one producer who has produced several major motion pictures in Georgia told CNN Business, “God forbid if you have to shut down again, it could wipe everything out.” He declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of ongoing discussions.Some of the vintage camera collection at History for Hire.Some of the vintage camera collection at History for Hire.Producer Matthew Thurm thinks the long term effects on the film business will be devastating. His film, “Sylvie’s Love,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and was acquired by Amazon Studios just before the global pandemic forced film festivals to be cancelled. “It’s so bleak for the industry. Filmmaking requires so much collaboration. This is a f***cking disaster,” he told CNN Business. At the History for Hire prop house, Elyea is hopeful that she will be able to hire back her staff when the cameras start rolling in Hollywood again. Until then, she is putting 33,000 square feet of inventory online so her clients will be able to browse the prop house virtually without making physical contact. “You gotta live like today is your last day, but plan to be in business forever.”

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