Hollywood star Jodie Turner-Smith said the film industry must go beyond having token black faces on screen and have people of colour at every level of the business.
The British actress — who played Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn in a new television series of the same name — said she had been struck by how few people of colour work behind the scenes.
Hollywood should stop trying to tell black people’s stories without hiring people of colour, she told a ‘Women in Motion’ talk at the Cannes film festival — where her latest sci-fi movie ‘After Yang’ was premiered.
‘You have to hire producers who understand what kinds of stories we’re trying to tell and how to honour those stories so that you don’t end up with things that feel like tokenism or strange stereotyping,’ the ‘Queen & Slim’ star said.
‘So many times, it’s like (producers say), ‘We are going to tell a story that involves black people’, but there are no black people in the writers’ room, and there are no women in the writers’ room.’
She said that some basics were also sometimes lacking.
‘When you make casting choices and you hire actors of colour in something, you have to hire people who know how to do their make-up, who know how to do their hair, who know how to light them properly,’ she said.
Turner-Smith, 34, who is making ‘White Noise’ at the moment with ‘Marriage Story’ director Noah Baumbach, said film and television had a way to catch up on theatre in the way they used black actors.