How Brie Larson Can Really Impact Diversity
Brie Larson’s super power is being more woke than her Hollywood peers.
The Oscar winner claimed her role in the 2017 popcorn flick “Kong: Skull Island” was her tribute to journalism. She played a photographer running a few paces ahead of a gargantuan ape.
“I make movies as a form of activism,” she wrote. “I believe we learn from what we see in our leaders. I’m proud to play Mason Weaver in @kongskullislandmovie because she represents the many journalists who risk their lives everyday to share with us the truth. Weaver leads with compassion and believes that unity cannot be obtained through aggression. I’m excited to share this film with you. And in the meanwhile I’m thrilled to have this platform as a way to connect us. Let’s work together. Lets be open to learning from each other.”
Last year, she said white male reviewers had little business trashing “A Wrinkle in Time.” The film, directed by a black woman and starring a child of color, wasn’t meant for them.
She’s doing it again.
Larson is set to rock the box office next month with “Captain Marvel,” the latest film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Larson plays Carol Danvers, a U.S. fighter pilot who becomes a superhero with immense powers.
Only Larson isn’t content to simply count all the zeroes in her bank account.
The actress is speaking out on behalf of journalistic diversity. In short, she’s attended too many press interviews conducted by white male reporters.
And she’s doing something about it.
“Moving forward, I decided to make sure my press days were more inclusive. After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of colour, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others. When I talked to the facilities that weren’t providing it, they all had different excuses.”
This reporter hasn’t been granted any face time, or phone connection, with Larson, for the record.
“I want to go out of my way to connect the dots. It just took me using the power that I’ve been given now as Captain Marvel. [The role] comes with all these privileges and powers that make me feel uncomfortable because I don’t really need them.”
So Larson will now pick and choose the reporters she speaks with on her “Captain Marvel” tour? Isn’t it the job of editors to assign various stories? What if an editor wants his or her best reporter, who might happen to be a white male, on the Larson interview?
It’s arrogant to assume editors aren’t the right people to assign a given story. But Larson could take other steps to insure diversity in her “Captain Marvel” publicity tour … and beyond.
Skip Team Late Night
Chances are Larson will be invited on some of the following programs: “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and perhaps “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
All are hosted by white males. See the problem? If the actress really means what she says, she’ll say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
What About Ideological Diversity?
The whole debate over diversity in journalism sidesteps a major issue – ideological diversity. How many Hollywood reporters vote Republican on a consistent basis? Here’s betting you can count the answer on one hand.
That’s a problem. To address it, Larson could reach out to National Review. Breitbart News or other right-of-center sites and let their reporters interview her. It would be a huge blow for ideological diversity.
Give up being Captain Marvel
Why should a woman steeped in white privilege get to play a major figure like Captain Marvel? We’ve already seen Nick Fury and Johnny Storm, both white heroes in Marvel Comics, played by black actors (Samuel L. Jackson and Michael B. Jordan, respectively).
Few fans objected at the time. Today, there’s virtually zero outcry tied to those figures.
That means it’s time for a woman of color to be Carol Danvers. The first “Captain Marvel” is already in the proverbial can, but Larson can make a profound statement by saying, “I’ve decided an actress of color should play her in future MCU films.”
Here’s the new international poster for Marvel Studios’ #CaptainMarvel! pic.twitter.com/BZom3Drmxp
— Captain Marvel (@captainmarvel) February 4, 2019
Amy Schumer bemoaned a similar situation during the press rollout for “I Feel Pretty.” Her leading role should have gone to a woman of color, Schumer observed. Only she took it all the same.
Now, it’s Larson’s turn. Anything less would mean embracing her White Privilege, and that goes against everything Larson believes.
Sadly, it may be too late. We just learned Larson has a seven-picture deal with Marvel Studios. Some diversity measures will have to wait, apparently.