Chris Rock has never been one to mince words. His pull-no-punches essay for The Hollywood Reporter is proof of that.
In it, the irreverent comedian touches on everything from Eddie Murphy to his new movie, "Top Five," to the fact that Hollywood is a "white industry."
“It's a white industry,” Rock wrote. “Just as the NBA is a black industry. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing. It just is. And the black people they do hire tend to be the same person. That person tends to be female and that person tends to be Ivy League. And there's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that's what I want for my daughters. But something tells me that the life my privileged daughters are leading right now might not make them the best candidates to run the black division of anything. And the person who runs the black division of a studio should probably have worked with black people at some point in their life. Clint Culpepper [a white studio chief who specializes in black movies] does a good job at Screen Gems because he's the kind of guy who would actually go see ‘Best Man Holiday’.”
Luckily for Rock, the stellar reviews almost guarantee that hordes of moviegoers will line up to see “Top Five” next weekend, but that still doesn’t discount the fact that the movie was difficult to get made.
“I couldn't have made ‘Top Five’ at a studio,” he revealed. “First of all, no one's going to make a movie with a premise so little and artsy: a star putting out a movie and getting interviewed by a woman from The New York Times. I would have had to have three two-hour meetings explaining that black people also read The New York Times. A studio would've made it like Malibu's Most Wanted. And never in a million years would they have allowed a scene where the rich guy comes back to the projects and actually gets along with everybody. No way. In most black movies — and in most black TV shows and even in most black plays — anyone with money or an education is evil, even movies made by black directors. They have to be saved by the poor people. This goes back to 'Good Times' and 'What's Happening'!”
Despite the lack of diversity in the movie industry, the “Saturday Night Live” alum makes it a point to help other young, up-and-coming African-American comedians and actors because, well, no one else will.
“It's big brother sh-t,” he added. “And they ask because there aren't that many black people to turn to. Who do you hire? Where's the big black PR agency? Where are the big black agents? Where's the big black film producer? That's why I've been all over Steve McQueen. I put a microchip in Steve's pocket and track him like an Uber driver. Steve thinks we keep bumping into each other by accident. ‘Hey, Steve, my man!’ I don't care if I have to play a whip, I'm going to be in a Steve McQueen movie. But I digress.”
Rock’s not only going to bat for his own race, he’s also speaking up for the Mexican-American community, too, which will likely be a hot-button topic considering the flood of legislation centering around immigration.
“You're telling me no Mexicans are qualified to do anything at a studio? Really? Nothing but mop up? What are the odds that that's true?” Rock continued. “The odds are, because people are people, that there's probably a Mexican David Geffen mopping up for somebody's company right now. The odds are that there's probably a Mexican who's that smart who's never going to be given a shot.”
The talented multi-hyphenate, whose new film opens in theaters on December 12, has a whole lot more to say, so make sure you read the rest of the piece here.