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Representation Matters: Why is DreamWorks Hiding Their First Black Main Character?

• Mar 19, 2015

A few days ago, actress Teyonah Parris shared the following image on her instagram page:

Representation Matters.

A photo posted by Teyonah Parris (@teyonahparris) on

If you’re unfamiliar, the little natural pictured is standing next to an ad for the new animated film, Home. The film is a product of Dreamworks and features their first black animated character, Tip, who is voiced by Rihanna.

Credit:FashionBombDaily

Credit:FashionBombDaily

We’re super excited to see the main character is not only a black girl but one with natural hair. This is all well and good but…the way the film has been promoted seems to dismiss the existence of the black character altogether. Some posters don’t even mention Rihanna’s name. In fact, if you’re driving down the ritzy parts of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, you’ll see this ad:

Home billboard

DailyBillboardblog.blogspot.com

The billboard features the other main character Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, and a cat. These ads — which fail to mention Rihanna’s character — are all over Los Angeles. One writer took on the task of locating ads that prominently feature the black character:

What she found was interesting: ads featuring the black character were only displayed in neighborhoods that had a mostly black demographic. In all other areas, the only ads displayed were that of the alien and the cat. It’s 2015. You’ve made the monumental stride of producing a film that centers around a black character, why take a step back and fail to make ads that reflect this? This is similar to what happened with the release of Annie. Some billboards simply said “Annie” and nothing else.

Annie 2014 movie billboard

dailybillboardblog.blogspot.com

No mention of young Quvenzhané Wallis. Let’s also not forget that Target completely scrubbed the image of Quvenzhané’s Annie in it’s film merchandise.

Target3-624x343

ChicagoNow

Then there’s Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave somehow advertised overseas in Italy as a movie featuring white actors:

12_Years_Italian_Promo

Kermito

They have Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character — the main character — Solomon Northrup playing second fiddle to Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt as if the film was about them. The film was called 12 Years a Slave not “12 Years of Being a White Guy in the Antebellum South.” And does anyone even recall how long Brad Pitt was on screen?

Does Hollywood think people won’t spend their hard earned coins on a production because there’s a *gasp* black person in it? Have they seen the record-breaking ratings for Empire?

Representation matters. You better recognize.

Have you seen promos for the film, Home in your area? What type of ad is displayed? How do you feel about the blanket “colorless” marketing strategy?

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OXxo
Guest
OXxo

The sad thing is young children won’t even notice the main character is not White.

Tara Daniels
Guest
Tara Daniels

I’m pretty sure young black kids will. I’ve worked with little kids and I’ve noticed that the children of color are aware of their race/ethnicity more than their white counterparts.

Personally, I’ve always known I was black, even as a kid. It was just a fact that I knew about myself.

Michael Lee Harris
Guest
Michael Lee Harris

I think that’s good for white children. They’ll connect on a human level with a character rather than look at that characters experiences as different or separate from their own. Black kids are going to know she’s black.

Meghan Mitchell
Guest
Meghan Mitchell

I agree. We’re a white family, and my daughter’s are very, very young. The discussion on race at our house, until they’re old enough to grasp the intricacies of it, is very simple; color is only on the outside and everyone is the same inside. Home is their favorite movie, the only comment they’ve made about Tip Tucci’s appearence is how beautiful her hair is, the rest of the talk is about how funny and tough and smart she is. That’s how we like our girls to think, let’s talk about the girl, not her color.☺

roo08
Guest
roo08

But kids age 6 (maybe even younger) and above, will notice. Especially little black girls, trust me.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

It’s been proven that kids do notice race, http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/05/13/doll.study/

They might not realise it, but they do.

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

I’m really glad there’s a movie with a black character with natural hair. I realised how so much of my insecurity about being a black woman stemmed from my childhood, and this subtly pervasive message that I was invisible as a black child compared to my white peers. There’s still a long way to go but maybe…one day

Ajah
Guest
Ajah

Home is about the Alien not the black girl. The Alien happens to befriend a girl that happens to be black. Now with Annie. The original was white. Sorry, but she was Though I would love to see the newer one it didn’t happen that way. Actually I remember in 5th grade I was selected to sing “The Tomorrow Song” and everyone praised me on that and I went to a pretty much all white school, so out of all the little girls that tried out I GOT IT! (Toot my horn on that one) I guess I was just… Read more »

Me
Guest
Me

I’m glad you were surrounded by positive people, but the point of calling this out is, as your next to last sentence points out, Rihanna has pushed beyond stereotypes and landed a great role where she co-stars in a major animated film. She deserves to be promoted based on her talent, just like you deserved the role of Annie based on yours. To exclude her from the advertising is contrary to “making them pay attention” as you say, and that should be noted. She’s being ignored despite doing all the right things, which is the problem we face in most… Read more »

user
Guest
user

actually the movie is about the girl, she meets the alien dosent come into play until a later point peep the comment with the pictures.

Juston N Virginia McKinley
Guest
Juston N Virginia McKinley

You had me until you mentioned empire. Representation matters huh? Regardless of the money or popularity Look at the image & message behind what empire promotes. Is that all we are / represent?? Back to the article: you pose a great question at the end & truth be told the marketing strategy (altogether the american culture) will not change until race is NOT an issue. We should all be aware of this by now.

Me
Guest
Me

What image and message are you saying Empire promotes? That show has a variety of black images, from innocent to guilty, all hair types, skin tones, and personalities, with some very dynamic story lines, from wealth, greed, loyalty, and family ties to mental health, social activism, gay rights, and domestic abuse. I would think a show this dynamic about a black family is what we should want to see. What problem do you have with it being referenced in the article?

Guest
Guest
Guest

A lot of black people have what I call the “perfect negro syndrome”. Any image that doesn’t project that we are perfect every day, in every way is a problem.

Bad/Sad/Hurt/Disturbed/Indifferent black people doesn’t exist in their world. None of the other character attributes you mentioned about the cast matters to them.

kam
Guest
kam

There are enough “imperfect” images of us. Look at history and you see black people are torn down in every which way. Why can’t enjoy a period of perfect imagery. Even a hundred years of perfect imagery cannot undo the damage of centuries of misrepresentation and anti-black campaigning has done.

Craig Bolton
Guest
Craig Bolton

Empire ruins everything. Bad writing and lazy plots but its got black people doing black things while being hard so it’s just amazing. 150 years and black people are still recognized only for music and athletics and they like it that way.

roo08
Guest
roo08

I don’t watch it but knowing how Lee Daniels really thinks makes me not want to ever watch it. I won’t be surprised if it eventually gets undeniably problematic and/or gets taken over by white characters.

I’m finally realizing that alot of black folks in the industry are out of their minds. They’ve been really exposing themselves lately.

Juston N Virginia McKinley
Guest
Juston N Virginia McKinley

I agree with your last sentence.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

Yeah, a show which is a modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s King Lear…that deals with mental illness, homophobia, and portrays black characters as complex individuals is sooo terrible!

I’m no fan of Lee Daniels, but come on son.

Craig Bolton
Guest
Craig Bolton

LoL. You’re giving that show waaaaay too much credit. It’s a Fox cash cow whose stories have about as much though behind them as an episode of Teletubbies.

Olympia
Guest
Olympia

yes the advertisers KNOW that many whites will NOT support the movie if they see that it features a “non-white” main character so that is why they do the ads like this. They know that most whites are racist & want everything to focus on them & everyone to look like them so when a movie or TV show comes out that doesn’t have a white star as the focal point the whites usually ignore it & choose not to see it. Racism will exist as long as a white race exists. They created racism, they maintain it and they… Read more »

Rhonda
Guest
Rhonda

Re: 12 Years a Slave — It’s called marketing (aka: selling your product). Regardless of the the movie’s story (or message), I want to put asses in the seats. So, I’m going to display my product in the best way to bring in the most customers. Therefore, I’m in Italy and I want to sell my American-made, English language movie to the most Italians possible. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to put the big-name, internationally known, instantly recognizable Hollywood movie star on my poster. If I’ve got Brad Pitt in my movie, his face is going… Read more »

Naturally_tee
Guest
Naturally_tee

This reminds me of princess and the frog first black princess was a frog for 80% of the movie that really upset me. The outrage white people had about a black girl playing Annie upset me. They acted as I if she was a real life historical figure that a black person couldn’t play. Yet every biblical or Egyptian movie they have white characters.

Danielle Blower
Guest
Danielle Blower

I mean, that WAS the premise of the movie.
Also, have you ever seen The Prince of Egypt?

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

Only Black people watch Empire. Be real with yourself. How many people made a fuss on social media because of that Black girl in Hunger Games?

Studio execs know that racism is still a thing. At the end of the day they are just trying to get people into the theaters and make some money.

Blair
Guest
Blair

I find this interesting given that Mellody Hobson, a Black woman, and spouse of George Lucas, is the CHAIRWOMAN of Dreamworks Animation. So, I am sure that she has some INFLUENCE on the promotion of this movie…

Link to Dream Work Board: http://ir.dreamworksanimation.com/investor-relations/governance/board-of-directors/default.aspx

Mellody Hobson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mellody_Hobson

Nessa
Guest
Nessa

The movie is based off a book called “the true meaning of smekday” by adam rex, and while the book is a chapter book, it includes several pictures of the main character tip. (pictured below). I find it ironic how they almost white washed the character for the film, changing her puffs into big, loose curls. Also within the story the boov (the aliens) blame white people for the deaths of the Native Americans. Tip just so happens to be half white and it is made very apparent that the aliens dislike that side of her. “I’m half white,” I… Read more »

boazwife
Guest
boazwife

Idk, her image has been all over my tv via commercials promoting the movie!

Myllee
Guest
Myllee

Her mother is played by Jlo though, I wouldn’t call her Black character.

Anon46
Guest
Anon46

I’ve seen the promos that introduce Rihanna as voice of the character & show her to be a curly haired light brown girl. Obviously, they don’t think Black faces on posters will appeal to non white audiences. And I wasn’t sure if the character is Black, thought maybe she could be racially ambiguous.

Curtis
Guest
Curtis

Why in the heck dose everything have to be about race with YOU PEOPLE and that how did you people become racist 25% is a good number. That means 75% of the time people are treated by their own actions. Which means that 25% of African Americans are racist towards American Americans ? Or let’s just call them WHITE.or is that racist ? I think it’s just a label thing. And 25% of white people are racist against black people. The other 75% of black people and white people and brown and any other colors out there are treated by… Read more »

lecia p
Guest
lecia p

You people”? LOL!!!..i stopped reading half way through. it was hard to not read it all with all your compelling accurate “statistics” supporting your point…HILARIOUS!

Camille
Guest
Camille

Being cast in movies and not included on the posters and merchandise is something we need to start boycotting. This is happening so often it’s becoming acceptable. I’ll wait and see it on Netflix.

Sabrina, the teenage Bitch
Guest
Sabrina, the teenage Bitch

Lol! Special snowflake much?

@ilola
Guest
@ilola

If the original Annie character had been black, and later remade to be white, the whole black community would have staged national protest over it. Even BGLH would be fuming and writing articles to express their disdain.

I just want us to think, “whenever we are quick to point at others, what would we have done if we were the ones in the focus?”

Ann
Guest
Ann

It’s hard to make a valid argument out of what you imagine a group of people “would” do. Numerous films have cast non-blacks in roles portraying actual, real-life black people. I’ve yet to see any national protests.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

I guess anyone can pretend to be black on the internet because this sounds exactly like the arguments I’ve seen from racists complaining about “blackwashing”: http://thedailybanter.com/2014/03/moronic-racists-appalling-reaction-to-black-actress-starring-in-annie-remake/ I’m also not sure what this comment has to do with this post, but I’ll bite. Comments like this are illogical and so far removed from reality. Diversity is Hollywood is abysmal. There have been numerous reports confirming this. http://blogs.indiewire.com/womenandhollywood/ucla-releases-scathing-report-on-diversity-in-the-film-and-tv-business One only has to look as far as the Oscars, the people nominated, films nominated, and audience represented. Can we honestly stop pretending as though people of colour have equal representation to white people?… Read more »

Trina Johnson Essiam
Guest
Trina Johnson Essiam

From a marketing standpoint it makes perfect sense. They have to appeal to the local demographic. They are trying to sell tickets, and get a big payback on the investment. What minorities can do to show the worth of black films/actors is show up to support the film. It’s all about money and the appeal.

Me
Guest
Me

Actually it doesn’t make sense from a marketing standpoint. That logic assumes that white moviegoers are inherently racist and will only go see a movie about black people if they’ve been tricked into seeing it. Lots of evidence indicate that assumption comes from Hollywood and not from the public.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

It’s funny how this logic doesn’t work in reverse. A movie starring white people will always have white faces posted up in lower income/mostly minority neighborhoods.

Studies prove that white people are inherently bias, but catering to those biases just reinforces racism instead of challenging it.

Trina Johnson Essiam
Guest
Trina Johnson Essiam

I enjoy Empire but would have appreciated seeing black characters that weren’t associated with drugs or criminal activities or entertainment centered roles. (perhaps Luscious’ lawyer could have been played by a black man, or his doctor or the parole officer). It’s the general negative portrayal of blacks that I hate.

Juston N Virginia McKinley
Guest
Juston N Virginia McKinley

Thank you!

Be positive
Guest
Be positive

My background is in Marketing and the bottom line is to sell the product. When developing a market strategy the first thing to identify is your target market. They did and it was.….everyone who will pay money to see a movie. Naturally in a white area they will leave out the black face. In the black/minority areas ads will feature the black girl. I feel like they tried to reach the widest audience in hopes that people will just come see the movie. Small steps. When people get used to seeing black faces in a good movie. In time, maybe… Read more »

SafeMode
Guest
SafeMode

My background is in Marketing and the bottom line is to sell the product. When developing a market strategy the first thing to identify is your target market. They did and it was.….everyone who will pay money to see a movie. Naturally in a white area they will leave out the black face. In the black/minority areas ads will feature the black girl. I feel like they tried to reach the widest audience in hopes that people will just come see the movie. Small steps. When people get used to seeing black faces in a good movie. In time, maybe… Read more »

Peace
Guest
Peace

I wish I knew how to word this so it would affect anyone or sound bad but really it’s not just the racist people that make things the way they are. It’s other people thinking that everyone is racist when they are not or thinking way too much of something and making it something it’s not. To me color does not matter at all, it’s about you’re attitude and how you treat others. There are famous people that everyone likes of every race, I just really wish people would stop seeing color or race and just see human.

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

Unfortunately we don’t live in such a Utopia as you describe. Take a casual look at some of the vitriolic commenters on YouTube as just one example and you’ll get some idea of the harsh reality of racism, hatred, bigotry and the sheer number of people who still practise and hold to such views. It ain’t going away just because you wish it. If you really care then do something more than just claiming you’re oblivious to colour. It’s so exasperating to hear your type of comments because it really is not that simple an issue. Take it from one… Read more »

p
Guest
p

It’s marketing.….if they put the black girl in areas that are mostly white or non black, people will pay no attention to the movie.…..unfortunately we are still very close minded in America. They’ll look at it and think that is a “black movie”.…

Trev
Guest
Trev

This has nothing to do with the race of the character. This is how they promote animated movies. They did this with Frozen. That movie starred two white princesses, but the advertising campaign focused on the snowman, Olaf. And if you ever saw the Despicable Me movies, you would know that the main characters are this white family, but you wouldn’t know that because the advertising focuses entirely on the Minions. Kids love small little creatures, and that sells.

Lola
Guest

I didn’t even know this was a black character until this article. I kept getting emails for free passes to see this and they showed the little girl with a robot on top of a car but it showed them from the behind. I thought to myself is that a black girl with natural hair? I wasn’t sure. Well if I had a little niece or girl I would have taken them to see it.

Me
Guest
Me

You may be right. Chris Rock said it best: the goal is not for black people to become or be seen as brilliant unicorns that can do no wrong; it’s for us to be allowed to be mediocre or even fail and it not be an indictment on the entire community because we’re all individuals, not representatives. TV characters should be allowed to have flaws coupled with their redeeming qualities. The setting of the story may be stereotypical because it’s a family that started in poverty and crime that rose to music riches, but the context is relatable to all… Read more »

tahmeka
Guest
tahmeka

I see the point but what are we going to do? I think boycotting is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Jmd
Guest
Jmd

While it may seem that the movie itself is downplaying the racial dynamic, I think they’re going with what draws kids in. The last few animated movies marketed to kids all seem to downplay the human characters and focus on the creatures. Nobody thinks about Gru in Despicable Me. It’s all about the minions. In Frozen, Olaf the snowman has enduring popularity. This one time I think it’s more about “species” of character and not so much about the race.

xzebra
Guest
xzebra

Yes, there is racist movie marketing, the examples above clearly show that. HOWEVER, when it comes to kids’ movies, the cute, non-human character often takes precedence over the human child characters in the marketing. Examples: Lilo and Stitch (little blue monster), Frozen (the snowman Olaf), the minions in Depsciable Me, not to mention Sesame Street, children’s cereals…the list goes on. In the era of Doc McStuffins and Dora the Explorer, where little brown girls are center stage, I am hestiant to call the marketing for Home “racist”, per se. Just my 2 cents.

EllieLo
Guest
EllieLo

You were right in all of those examples except Frozen. All I saw were Elsa and Anna all over the place. Olaf was there, but the main character(s) represented were the human princesses.

KM
Guest
KM

Actually, Disney’s original marketing campaign for FROZEN focused heavily on Olaf. The teaser for the film only featured Olaf too. Variety did a good write up on this when the film came out. And they discuss how the marketing campaign downplayed the princesses — they pretty much downplayed anything female until they realized that it served their purpose to play up the princesses. http://variety.com/2013/film/columns/why-disneys-marketing-campaign-doesnt-do-frozen-justice-1200908996/

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

Interesting point. So with that logic lets see if the merchandise that follows the film has the black character featured as the main product in the same way Frozen has. I see the dolls everywhere, especially the main white-haired character.

Freetea
Guest
Freetea

So based on this comment and a few others, I would say that the Stormfront trolls have arrived.…

LaNeshe @Nesheaholic.com
Guest

Because my background is in marketing I understand it. It doesn’t make it right, but I understand it.

Melanie
Guest
Melanie

Yup I’m a marketer too and I agree. I know exactly the type of data and decision making that would have been behind this. It may not be right but we know it’s all based on consumer behavior.

Juston N Virginia McKinley
Guest
Juston N Virginia McKinley

Your opinion is your opinion. Same for me. So before I get into a debate on the things you listed (dynamics of the show) I will end the discussion here with this .

Me
Guest
Me

I wasn’t debating you. You referenced Empire without saying exactly what was wrong with it, so I asked you to elaborate. I don’t work for FOX or Lee Daniels, so it’s not my job to convert you. I just wanted a better understanding of your viewpoint, but you’re free to keep it to yourself.

Juston N Virginia McKinley
Guest
Juston N Virginia McKinley

Black people doing black things? They like it that way?? Hmm??? Interesting.

Craig Bolton
Guest
Craig Bolton

What’s interesting? It’s sarcasm. The show is one big stereotype of unthoughtful cliches and melodrama. It’s black people as America views them doing shitty things and making annoying music. It pisses me off how popular this show is with other black people because it’s downright bad and it promotes hero worship of shitty, murdering, drug dealing rappers. It’s part of the reason why so many people think that rapping and professional sports is a realistic career goal. Black people are good for other things besides rap music and sports but you’ll be hard pressed to find a popular black role… Read more »

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

Anyone who says the show promotes hero worship of these types has either not watched Empire (and are basing their opinions off previews), or have not paid any attention.

Lucious’ character is the quintessential “murdering drug-dealing rapper” you’re referring to and he’s objectively the absolute worst. No one likes him, not even his own family.

There are also black characters in the series that aren’t involved with the record company or sports, so???

Craig Bolton
Guest
Craig Bolton

The show is centered around the entertainment industry so save you’re flimsy arguments about the characters. Of course there are characters that aren’t directly involved with that stuff, like extras and other characters that aren’t central to the plot. Consider for a moment that you’re defending a pretty stupid show first and foremost that panders to the lowest common denominator. Case and point, Drip Drop. It gets away with it’s stupid and cliched storylines and lazy writing by giving us fictionalized versions of idiiot celebrities that people pay too much attention to anyway. It puts the worst parts of black… Read more »

mrjones91
Guest
mrjones91

I feel like they should have made this small step larger by including the girl and the purple alien…
I hate that I agree with your point, because I just would like for it to be easier to just throw things out there as they should be without trying to make it palatable to our immature (to say the least) society.

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

LOL! I guess YOU PEOPLE did you not read the leaked Sony emails? I don’t see how any reasonable minded person would seriously think how movies are promoted has NOTHING to do with race. Movie executives have flat out admitted that US films featuring black actors in starring roles do not play well to white European audiences. That is the reason for the Brad Pitt poster which makes him huge even though he’s in the movie for like two minutes. I’m not upset about it because to me it’s not about black or white but green but still maybe you… Read more »

chinchin
Guest
chinchin

As messed up as it is. If they advertised that the main character is a black girl, especially with natural hair in some white neighborhoods, certain people wouldn’t take their children to watch it. Straight up. At least when those parents take the children to watch the movie, and they see it is a black character, the ticket is already bought. There isn’t anything they can do because at least ticket sales will be up. We winning!

Mae
Guest
Mae

I wish it were as simple as that. As the shooting of Trayvon Martin and others have shown, though, you can be walking down the street with a bag of skittles and STILL be killed — for no other reason than that you’re black. See also this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/06/i-taught-my-black-kids-that-their-elite-upbringing-would-protect-them-from-discrimination-i-was-wrong/

So no, it is not “thinking about racism” that causes racism to exist. Racism exists, period.

teenygozer
Guest
teenygozer

*sigh* They also don’t seem to know that all Calico cats are female, except for the occasional hermaphrodite–the Calico cat character is referred to as “he” whenever I see it referenced. Hollywood marketers don’t like promoting characters who are black *or* female because they’re chasing after the young, white male demographic and they have it in their heads that their target demographic won’t go to see movies with characters that contain coded non-white or female characters (pls note, the little purple alien is coded white male.) I guess having two main female characters out of three was overwhelming for the… Read more »

KF
Guest
KF

It actually happens quite a bit, where the ads campaign for spin-off ‘whatevers’ that is ‘inspired by’ but not directly movie-related is also ‘advertised by’ models that are not the actresses. I’ve done a double-take more than once. That having been said. I repeat, I’ve done a double-take. i looked closely and thought ‘oh, that’s not her/him’. Their use of an a model that wasn’t even remotely similar was off-putting and off-script. Target could and should do better.

Nicole Archie
Guest
Nicole Archie

As long as white supremacy is in charge, black people will always be misrepresented
We need to establish our own power

ten17eighty1
Guest
ten17eighty1

This kind of thing happens frequently in advertising — the amount of suggestion and sleight of hand that goes into any advertising campaign can be unbelievable at times, but I think Trina is right. I don’t think the folks in charge of what poster went where were unaware (try saying that five times fast) of how it might look, but ads are meant to cater to their audience. And it could be argued that it’s less that “White people won’t see this if the lead is black” and more of “black people WILL see this if the lead is black.”… Read more »

Trina Johnson Essiam
Guest
Trina Johnson Essiam

A lot of companies employ this tactic. They cater to the specific demographic. For example, the H&R Block ads which feature the White, male Tax Pro (named Richard). Unbeknownst to most, there is a Latino version of him who represents their Latino communities in flyers, brochures & in television ads on Univision and telemundo.

Tyler Young
Guest
Tyler Young

You say that as if the premise was set in stone and couldn’t have been literally anything else. Hell, the source material from which the film was adapted didn’t even have the princess turn into a frog–that was a deliberate decision made by Disney.

Hannah
Guest
Hannah

The aliens don’t seem to have much of an opinion on race at all–Chief Shouting Bear isn’t an alien, he’s a Native American living in Roswell, so his grievances are pretty personal.

Sally Strange
Guest
Sally Strange

Shorter marketing professionals: “Marketing is all about catering to bigotry, therefore it isn’t racist to try to hide black faces from bigots in your target demographic.”

OK guys.

How about next time, y’all just try assuming that we KNOW that marketing involves taking into account your customers’ racism, and instead focus on trying to figure out ways to market movies without, you know, REINFORCING RACISM.

m
Guest
m

yeah, it’s racist, but it’s not the media that it is, but society

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

…so should a powerful medium like advertising be reinforcing that or .… here’s an idea.…challenging it at every turn. They do have the power to control the masses for good or bad.

mibtp
Guest
mibtp

I thought I was the only one to notice that. Yea, where is the main black little girl in all the print ads for this movie??? Shame on Dreamworks!

TherisseV
Guest
TherisseV

To be fair it’s not just because she’s a black character. It’s also because she’s female.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

It’s called intersectionality. She’s both black and female at the same time, therefore both contribute to her erasure.

Paige
Guest
Paige

does “to be fair” actually fit that statement?

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

lol…thank you! … think the point’s been missed there.

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

I had no idea that this film even had people in it. 😛 Looking forward to seeing it now!

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/02/10/7-things-color-blind-racist-friend-might-say-respond/

Colorblind

What they say:

People are just people.” “I don’t see color.” “We’re all just human.” “Character, not color, is what counts with me.”

Response:

Colorblindness” negates the cultural values, norms, expectations and life experiences of people of color. Even if an individual white person can ignore a person’s skin color, society does not.

Claiming to be “colorblind” can also be a defense when someone is afraid to discuss racism, especially if the assumption is that all conversation about race or color is racist. Color consciousness does not equal racism.

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

THANK YOU! .…Please see my reply to ‘Peace’
I couldn’t agree with you more. Sounds more like an avoidance tactic when I hear the ‘colourblind’ rhetoric.

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

It’s 2015. I’m tired of “wait and see” and “progress takes time” and “baby steps.”

Every year it’s the same thing. They’re just tired excuses, especially when television has proven that diversity makes money. One of the biggest shows this year features black people in all the main/lead roles. The biggest moviegoers in the USA are also Latin@.

Rihanna is a massive star as well and they’re using her to sell the film, so why not have her character on all the marketing material?

abbiethrills
Guest
abbiethrills

“Only black people watch Empire.” Even if this statement were entirely true, the fact that Empire is a hit/the biggest TV show on air means that black audiences have power. In fact, some of the most successful TV shows are led by people of colour with large audiences of colour. Ratings = advertising = money. People in this post keep saying that money talks, but apparently poc money isn’t good enough? In any case, Empire still has a large white audience, even if the black audience is bigger: http://nymag.tumblr.com/post/113988636605/empire-burst-onto-the-pop-culture-scene-back-in Black women specifically comprise the largest group, and isn’t it funny… Read more »

abbiethrills
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abbiethrills

It’s called racist marketing and confirmation bias.

Peggy
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Peggy

As a white woman with close family members of several different racial backgrounds I am interested in your viewpoint and admit I get frustrated sometimes by all the talk of racism. I know it exists but honestly what can I do as one person other than be open to people as individuals, talk about it openly and try to live a kind life? I don’t know that being angry all the time contributes to an improvement in this area. When I say that “color doesn’t matter” I’m not trying to negate someones culture or identity I’m trying to say it… Read more »

Peggy
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Peggy

Put that beautiful little girl front and center and I KNOW it will promote the movie better than fictional aliens!

India
Guest
India

sigh… people find a problem with everything

Melanie
Guest
Melanie

Was just about to post the same thing. Seems like mainstream media can’t do anything with/about black ppl that doesn’t stir up some kind of controversy in our community. Smdh

Lauroe
Guest
Lauroe

Could be because being represented in mainstream media is important for self-confidence. If films only show and promote white characters, that automatically becomes the norm, and of course, what’s deemed as better in society. Just like women need to be represented as more than the female love interest for the male protagonist, black people, and black women with natural hair (which is considered unprofessional from grade school through employment) NEED to be shown as a norm, in every shade and style we come in. The same with any other non-white race, shown and promoted outside or ridiculous, oft sexualised /… Read more »

Leah James
Guest
Leah James

I noticed that too if they have a problem with a black female why did they cast one ?

Michelle F
Guest
Michelle F

Same thing with Big Hero 6, all you saw was a big white robot (which looked more like a snowman to me) in the initial movie posters. However after winning an Oscar for the 2015 Best Animated Feature award, Disney has put the Japanese character alongside the robot on the cover of the DVDs. Hmmmm…

Rehanna Cameron
Guest
Rehanna Cameron

its not a big deal, so many other films do this not just ones with black people.

Allen Franklin
Guest
Allen Franklin

I cant help but point out the lapse of logic in that counter-argument. That there is no issue here, because it happens to other people (though that still has to be substantiated with some level of evidence. And to be honest, like many things that affect various groups along racial lines, i wouldnt be surprised of black people get shafted here as well.). Thats called the Argumentum ad populum fallacy; that simply because everyone does it, or it happens all the time, or that it happens to everyone… that there isnt a problem, or that its on some level acceptable.… Read more »

Hannah
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Hannah

Unfortunately this is in the UK too. All the bus ads and posters I’ve seen just feature the alien and the cat — nothing else. I’d heard Dreamworks was releasing a film with a black female protagonist but I had no idea this was the one.

EllieLo
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EllieLo

I guess I was referring to the aftermath, then. I really didn’t pay all that much to the lead-up to Frozen except on social media (tumblr, specifically), where ALL the focus was on the heroines.
All I know is that afterwards ALL I saw were Elsa and Anna (I worked at a Marshalls/TjMaxx that had its own Frozen section.…it was a mess.

Philly Jawn
Guest
Philly Jawn

They have to advertise to their audience white neighborhood white representation

Beauty Is Diverse
Guest

I went to see the movie yesterday, really good film and liked the story line. But I don’t think Rihanna’s character was even black, I believe her character was bi-racial since her name was Gratuity “Tip” Tucci. Which sounds Italian and the mother who’s voice was done by Jennifer Lopez ( Lucy Tucci ) visible appeared to be a Italian/white women in the film with a bi-racial daughter.

bri
Guest
bri

Even if she is bi racial… she would still be black.…

In The Mix!
Guest
In The Mix!

Ha ha ha.… No you’re one of those narrow minded people! Like me she’s in the mix.… And proud! I’m half white, half black so I could say I’m white?! Ha ha ha ha, I love my English, Jamaican and Irish roots equally!

Allen Franklin
Guest
Allen Franklin

I’m pretty sure Bri is referring to how people in the US view any person who’s visibly or assumably mixed to any degree with black people. The one-drop-rule is old and racist as hell, but the vast majority of the US undoubtably still utilizes it. If you’re half black, or even presumably so… really even racially ambiguous, but still have color… in the US people are going to refer to you and only accept you as black. Regardless of how mixed you are or what you really are. Its not really being narrow-minded to recognize that thats the environment we… Read more »

BlackBombshell
Guest
BlackBombshell

I took both my oldest children (both Black girls) to see ‘Home’ after school Friday. The movie theatre was PACKED with Whites with a smattering of Hispanics and Asians. We were the only Blacks in the theatre for that showing. Both the parents and kids enjoyed the film and they clapped afterward. So, it seems that no one was actually offended by the Black female co-main character. At times though, it did seem as if the other co-main character, ‘Oh’, had a more dominant role. He seemed to have more screen time, more lines, and the fate of the movie… Read more »

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

…Then you may want to look into advertising and marketing psychology and strategy a little more closely. Every (cost-loaded) ‘risk’ is very carefully weighed and not in the interests of fairness or even ethics but of profits and at best liability.

Venusia Umland
Guest
Venusia Umland

I wonder if they were trying to lure people into the theater who might not have opted to see it if they thought it was a “black film.” (Some avoid Tyler Perry’s work for this reason, thinking his films won’t speak to them.) Perhaps the strategy was to bring them in and then show them that human stories can be universal and if the experiences in them aren’t, then it will help people learn to empathize with characters better. Just one take on it.

kalexa1
Guest
kalexa1

My thoughts exactly. Don’t you think it is sad though, that here in the 21st Century this still has to be the tactic because the black race is so marginalised and misunderstood by white society? I for one do think so, and also believe it’s pretty shameful that it is like that.

Kash511
Guest
Kash511

I agree!

Kaliah Nash
Guest
Kaliah Nash

That’s a very optimistic way of thinking about this. I can appreciate your view and I hope you’re right. As a black woman with my goals set high in the “white
collar” world it disturbs me to even think that my skin color will
overshadow my intelligence and skill.

lecia p
Guest
lecia p

Ummm..not surprised. I would like to be but I’m not.

Venusia Umland
Guest
Venusia Umland

Yes, it is sad. But maybe this is how we’ll get to the point that people will get past those divisions. We seem to be going in the direction of folks looking for conversations with people who look or think more like they do, and we need to all jump out of those shells and recognize how important it is for us to acknowledge our common humanity. If tricking people into seeing a movie they might avoid otherwise will help get them past that, I guess it’ll have to do for now. Tomorrow, one hopes, will be another day.

Rebekah Marie Byrd
Guest
Rebekah Marie Byrd

That’s like they’e got in NYC. Just Oh and the cat.

Finnish mom of a biracial girl
Guest
Finnish mom of a biracial girl

I live in Finland. There are no posters featuring Tip here. Not a single one. Didn’t surprise me at all. They don’t even show Doc McStuffins in Finland, I’m afraid it’s because of the color of the character’s skin (they have all the other Disney shows like Sofia the First etc). 🙁 When Princess and the Frog came out the movie was at least shown here but there was basically no Tiana merchandise available anywhere (they have for example all the white disney princess dolls in shops but no Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana etc). Being a mother of a biracial… Read more »

Karma
Guest
Karma

*sarcasm ahead* “Oh yes.. let’s get mad about why they are hiding the main character… so when our young children who we let browse the Internet on their own from time to time go looking up her vevo videos and pics can see her spanking people with whips, smoking/drinking, and running around half nekkid (or whatever she does.) ” I don’t think this is about black or white. This is about her name tied to a children’s movie and other content she has that’s not tied to a children’s movie. I think she has a great voice to do the… Read more »

LittleRed
Guest
LittleRed

I don’t recall when Tip was caught smoking/drinking and “running around half nekkid”. This article is about the image of Tip being replaced by an alien and a cat…because somehow, those are more acceptable than a black kid. Rihanna is mentioned in passing, because she gives the voice of the character. Since when did kids gets so obsessive over voice actors anyway? My brothers love loads of animated shows, but don’t give a rat’s a** who gave the voice. They’re interested in the CHARACTER. The only people who would be interested in the voice actors, producers, e.t.c would be adults… Read more »

AliceUsagi
Guest
AliceUsagi

That poster for 12 Years a Slave are shown like foreign countries like Italy, where I think movie companies knowing majority of the cast is white will bring in more viewers. (Stupid and ignorantly I know but it just how money works)

Autumn Samuels
Guest
Autumn Samuels

I have to agree with you, as my husband is from Jamaica and I am from America. My children are all different as far as their skin color, but they all identify as “biracial” and not just “black”. I try my very hardest to incorporate both cultures and even on surveys I never check just “black/African American”.… I always check all that apply if available and “other” if only one option is available.

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