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Black Panther Begs The Question: Is Hollywood #woke?

Yvon Lux

Marvel's Black Panther has been declared by many as a record-breaking monstrous hit. Recently passing Titantic on the list of highest grossing films of all time, Black Panther has passed the billion dollar mark in global ticket sales and sank the Titanic’s domestic record of $659 million.

As a matter of fact, it reached $1 billion within four weeks when on average billion dollar films take about seven weeks, according to Quartz Media. This is a notable accomplishment for the cast of Black Panther, as it shows that diverse leads and casting can and will turn out box office hits. 

 Photo credit:  @blackpanther

Photo credit: @blackpanther

Hollywood has been playing favorites for decades with casting white leads and stars to sell films. But with the recent surge of diverse films making bank and earning global accolades, it should be impossible to not notice a worthy trend and potential cultural norm. 

Coco, the 3D animated film featuring an all-Latino cast was an enormous box office hit grossing $800 million worldwide. Written by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by him and Adrian Molina with a cast including Benjamin Bratt and newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, Coco won Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.

 Photo credit:  @pixarcoco

Photo credit: @pixarcoco

More proof of diversity winning is one of the most talked about films in decades, Get Out. The movie wasn't just a film that married horror and comedy seamlessly, it was a bold story that was told at the perfect time. Get Out earned multiple nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Jordan Peele, and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya. The film’s budget was $4.5 million while grossing over $250 million. So with no surprise, it also earned the title of the most profitable movie in 2017.

 Photo credit:  @getoutmovie

Photo credit: @getoutmovie

According to Forbes, “As of 2015 [in Hollywood], men outpaced women nearly two to one in film leads, more than six to one among film directors and nearly four to one among film writers. Meanwhile, white people outpaced people of color nearly three to one among film leads, nearly four to one among film directors and more than seven to one among film writers.”

So #hollywood, are you #woke? 

Rather than the usual George Clooneys and Scarlett Johanssons, how about a few more shades and a lot more moola? This is not meant to take away from those actors’ achievements, but an argument that white actors sell movies is seriously antiquated.

How many flops are there that we know of that contain white leads? For an example, Suburbicon starring George Clooney and Matt Damon failed miserably at the box office. The whitewashed Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson did horribly earning $60 million while costing around $130 million to make. Even Iron Man's Robert Downey Jr. and my favorite girl, Sandra Bullock, has had a few disappointing projects.

It is clear that global moviegoers are smart, #woke, and they know they have choices now. Diversity sells. It’s time Hollywood and television (#smh at #gameofthrones) get it. Black Panther killing it at the box office shows not only Marvel and Hollywood what the masses want, but the world at large. 

@YvonLux is a serial entrepreneur who owns a marketing and PR firm, VANT4GE, LLC, that specializes in target marketing, social media marketing and personal branding. The published lifestyle and beauty blogger also owns and designs for her custom-clothing line, Yvon Lux, and manages her empowering Apple News channel with the same name.