The 75th Diamond anniversary Golden Globes kicked off the 2018 Awards Season and as usual despite their diverse nods, it was pretty much an all-white affair.
Let’s get the ‘of colour’ winners out the way, the fantastic Sterling K. Brown became the first African American man to take home Best Actor in a Drama Series, Aziz Ansari became the first Asian American man to win Best Actor in a Comedy Series and Aunty Queen President of the World Oprah Winfrey became the first African American woman to take home the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the honorary Golden Globe Award given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”
The snubbed were our #BritishBlacktor Daniel Kaluuya who was up for Best Actor in a Comedy Film, he lost out to James Franco. Get Out was also ignored in its nutty category entry, Best Comedy Film. Jordan Peele its writer and director was snubbed by omission from Best Director and Best Screenplay. Also ignored Mudbound for Best Film, Dee Rees for Best Director, and Mary J Blige for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Film, Blige also missed out on Best Original Song for her Mudbound inspired song Mighty River. Octavia Spencer also missed out on Best Supporting Actress in Mary’s category for her role in The Shape of Water. Anthony Anderson didn’t get an award for Best Actor in a Comedy series for Black-ish, and our homegirl from across the water Issa Rae didn’t get Best Actress in a Comedy series for the excellent Insecure.
So after we collect our coats and disappointment at the door, we look ahead to the rest of Awards Season which really means nothing else matters until the BAFTAs and then the Oscars. Yet before those two awards, we have the NAACP Image Awards on January 18th, where there’s a whole lorra, well everyone nominated is black. For us, Idris Elba (Thor) and Daniel are mentioned in their noms. The NAACP Image Awards and the BET awards are big bashy and fantastic. Those of us in the UK who grew up on African American content, respect these awards, possibly more than they are respected in their own country. Although, E Entertainment has started featuring the red carpet of these awards, and mainstream publications like Variety, Deadline and Hollywood Reporter now make the effort to write an article or two about them. Progress. Sigh.
But if we look to the UK, and no I’m not going to name names, do we care about British Black Award shows? I’d say yeah and no. Yeah because we understand recognition is needed because we know we’re not going to get much when we look to the BAFTAs, The Oliviers, The Brits, The Booker, MTV Europe for example and once we get our organisation together, no one knows how to throw a party like black folks. But also it’s a resounding no not really. It’s not because we don’t appreciate our awards, it’s because British / UK based black-focused award shows pull no power. They make no difference to careers. Creatives can’t do anything with them.
*Random placement of Oprah’s Golden Globe speech*
YES I SAID IT. What does winning a UK based black award do? Tell me UK based creatives… I’ll wait… … … Have any UK born black creatives in the arts ever walked into a meeting and confidently mentioned the British black award they won when it came down to bartering for a role, or a directing gig, a writing position, or as a producer? How many UK Black creatives as their CV gets longer, drop off their home awarded award?
This isn’t a slight on the artist or existing British/UK Black award shows, however, it is a slight on the effing UK wide industry. At least in America, if you win an NAACP Image award or a BET award, and back in the day a Source Award, you could at least keep employed within Black Hollywood / Black Music Industry. In the UK we have no Black Blollywood, Black UKollywood (I dunno… help me here)… British Black Film industry, UK Black film industry. The music industry is marginally better… But overall, there’s no platform, there’s no office, there’s no board, there’s no building, there’s no HR, there’s no director, no CEO there’s not even a complaints body… nothing.
In the UK black creatives have ZERO POWER IN THE ARTS and don’t reel off the black people you know in good jobs. Don’t.
I’m talking about going to have a meeting with a British Black Person In Charge (BBPIC) and saying Madame or Sir British Black Person I’d like to star in this production, I’d like to make this production, I’d like to write this production, I’d like to direct this production and this BBPIC can say yep, all done, here’s the money go forth, see you at the UK Black Awards next year!? Let’s not even add to this a black narrative, with black people in love, who have given birth or are parents to black children with 4Z textured hair…
Note that I mostly say British because let’s not even talk about Welsh Black power in the Welsh arts or Scottish, or Irish etc. etc. I mean we could even go as deep as to focus on just British London Based Black people in the arts because, again, let’s not talk about the scarcity of investment in black people in the arts who live in the regions.
I love awards. I LOVE awards season. I want an Oscar (still working on how I can get one) just for the fun of it. But I also want the UK screen, sound, literature and stage industry to change. I don’t care if we have an all-black station that shows only all black content. I really don’t. If it’s segregated or siloed so be it (as long as it’s made well with budget). White people don’t like blackety black stuff. Likewise I as a black woman don’t like Downton Abbey. I get it. Not everything deeply cultural resonates with people outside of said culture. But when your culture dominates, you must share. That’s it. Invest in us. Or give us space to do what we want for us. Then when we award ourselves we can walk into a room with our British Black award held high and command the negotiation portion of the conversation with our chests. Thank you.
… erm now where to post this note to… *searches the Internet for the official British Black Complaints Body*