Did you know the Stonewall movement was started by Marsha P. Johnson, a black-transgender female who retaliated against the police? But her role seems to be replaced by an attractive white male in the movie. So is the uproar justified?
Are you surprised? Hollywood is Hollywood where stereotypes sell and more often than not the core character is the white male. Decent BME roles in Hollywood exist, but reserved for the minority few like Samuel L Jackson and Halle Berry. The issue here seems to be one about recreating a story, based on actual events and then replacing the main player with someone so far from who the original.. is this a bit too much in 2015?
Gay white male director, Roland Emmerich, defends his decisions by saying that the movie is a fictionalized version of the events. He put a message on his Facebook account, “The courageous actions of everyone who fought against injustice in 1969 inspired me to tell a compelling, fictionalized drama of those days centering on homeless LGBT youth, specifically a young midwestern gay man who is kicked out of his home for his sexuality and comes to New York, befriending the people who are actively involved in the events leading up to the riots and the riots themselves.”
Does this make a difference? Is Roland Emmerich a sell-out or a hypocrite? Does the fact that he gave $150,000 of his own money to Outfest’s Legacy Project to preserve Gay and Lesbian’s film history in 2006 make any difference?
Reality check. Is Hollywood about money? Or is Hollywood simply another indulgent playground where a few privileged directors can play storytelling however they want? Could the directors be directed by those who hold the purse strings? Which is a sexier sell to masses? An attractive, white, 20 something or a black she-male? Hollywood doesn’t claim to address inequalities, or raise awareness, or change attitudes. But Stonewall was about the power of a minority which did change attitudes in the World. Can we, the Queer/LGBT people also make a statement and influence change when Hollywood so blatantly changes actual historical events.
We won’t be throwing bricks through windows but what will you do with the power we have? Use social media? Go see or not see the movie? Hold pickets outside screenings? Share your thoughts as Stonewall movie is due for release on 25 September.
The Daily Beast Article