New Documentaries Reveal Media’s Phony Commitment to Diversity
Two directors of color get ignored, and even censored, for sharing different views
Hollywood and the press are working hand in hand to bring greater diversity to filmmaking.
To a point, that is.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences tweaked the iconic Oscar rules to ensure films offer richer representation than ever before. Actors are trying to do their part, which sometimes means quitting well-paying gigs to make way for people of color.
Streaming platforms turned major chunks of their real estate over to “black voices” following the death of George Floyd in May. Visit Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime and you’ll find special sections featuring black performers, directors and themes.
News outlets, in turn, routinely promote stars of color along with attempts to diversify platforms whenever possible.
Enter Namrata Singh Gujral and Eli Steele and the accompanying record scratch sound.
She’s the director of “America’s Forgotten,” a harrowing new documentary exploring the untold stories behind illegal immigration.
Steele, who previously gave us “How Jack Became Black,” directs a powerful documentary about race, power and victimization in modern America, called “What Killed Michael Brown?”
The movie stars Shelby Steele, the director’s father and one of the most celebrated voices in conservative America. Together, they question the narratives surrounding police violence, and more, in America.
Both films are professional, polished and well argued. Gujral, born in India, is a veteran actress and director responsible for the film “1 a Minute” about breast cancer survivors. Steele, who is black, Jewish and deaf, directs his father, delivers a nuanced look at how race is manipulated in society.
Each is available now via Video on Demand-like services.
Now, punch both films into the Google News search engine and see what comes up. Conservative news sites like The Federalist, Fox News, The Daily Wire and National Review covered either one or both films. Newsweek served up an exclusive first interview with Gujral about “America’s Forgotten.”
And that’s more of less it after a good faith Google News search.
The stories of a homeless veteran, an illegal immigrant, a law enforcement officer killed by an illegal immigrant and a dead six-year-old girl make up “America’s Forgotten,” an upcoming documentary by Namrata Singh Gujral. https://t.co/FhFIQT1foe via @dailycaller
— marguerite telford (@mtelford_cis) October 16, 2020
Gujral said she had to essentially fund her own film after her usual financiers balked at “America’s Forgotten,” which questions the progressive narrative regarding immigration.
There’s more to the story, though.
Gujral is a woman of color who makes deeply personal films. She’s also a blood and breast cancer survivor. From a journalist’s point of view, all of the above make her very newsworthy, particularly at a time when the culture is promoting artists of color.
Yet the usual news outlets are looking the other way.
RELATED: Why TV’s Diversity Push Is a Scam in the Age of Trump
The same is true for Eli Steele’s film. Sure, a smattering of right-leaning news sources explored the documentary. Where are Variety, TheWrap.com, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline.com?
Entertainment Weekly? USA Today’s Entertainment section? Rolling Stone?
How about TheRoot? The Mary Sue? Refinery 29? These sites routinely report on artists of color. Did they miss these documentaries?
Or is something else in play?
Gujral is a Democrat, but she’s critical of her party’s leftward lurch. Her film puts former Vice President Joe Biden in an unflattering light, along with the rest of his party. Steele’s film contradicts the media narratives surrounding the deaths of both Michael Brown and George Floyd. Neither film embraces a progressive point of view, in short.
Steele’s film recently faced an even bigger challenge.
“What Killed Michael Brown?” just got censored by Amazon. The consumer juggernaut told the team behind the documentary it found the film didn’t meet the platform’s quality metrics.
Many of us regard #ShelbySteele as the leading thinker on matters of race in our time.
Incredibly, his documentary “What Killed Michael Brown?” has been rejected by #Amazon where it was initially supposed to debut. https://t.co/xJqpJYvJ5I
— Epoch Times Opinion (@EpochOpinion) October 15, 2020
The mainstream media is ignoring this story, too.
And where are the Hollywood activists? Shouldn’t they be fighting on behalf of two artists of color? Perhaps the galaxy of stars who protested NBC’s President Trump town hall might have a word to share about this?
This is the same Amazon, for what it’s worth, that allows consumers to stream or buy a number of “preposterous” titles, according to National Review’s David Harsanyi.
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Diversity is important, of course. So, too, is intellectual diversity. It seems as if the cultural powers that be don’t care about a person’s skin color, background or faith if the stories being told clash with their preferred views.
UPDATE: The team behind “America’s Forgotten” just announced Amazon is refusing to allow the film on its streaming platform.
From the press release:
A controversial new illegal immigration documentary America’s Forgotten, directed by Namrata Singh Gujral, was set to stream for purchase on Amazon today, however to date, Amazon has refused to release the film, a display of Big Tech censorship of conservatism. Director Namrata Singh Gujral has reached out to Amazon several times with no answers as to why the release has been pushed back. This censorship is affecting the promotion of the film as Uniglobe Entertainment previously highlighted its availability on Amazon.