Star of new series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker,” Octavia Spencer, says she’s learned young how to speak up for herself and reveals she wanted to reignite “what black excellence really means” for younger viewers. (March 19)
Octavia Spencer is calling for more casting of people with disabilities.
During a video campaign for the Ruderman Family Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation that advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities, the actress, 50, urged Hollywood for authentic representation.
Spencer begins the video by sharing the first time she saw herself represented on screen before listing off the slow progress of diversity in media.
“Women weren’t allowed to perform in theaters until 1660; all characters, whether male or female, were portrayed by men before then. It’s only been a few decades since white actors would portray Black, Asian and even Native American characters on screen,” she said. “
She added that all these communities had to endure their stories being told inauthentically as well as seeing themselves portrayed inauthentically.
“But nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation. That’s why it’s imperative that we cast the appropriate actor for the appropriate role, and that means people with disabilities, as well,” she continues. “Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities.”
She continued, “I am joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to call on the entertainment industry to increase casting of people with disabilities. There is no reason that we should continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past. Together, we should and can do better.”
According to a press release, the foundation garnered more star support in an open letter last December, which called on studio, production and network executives to create more opportunities for people with disabilities.
The letter was signed by George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Norton, Bryan Cranston, Mark Ruffalo, Glenn Close, Eva Longoria, and more, the release states.
There have been other recent calls in Hollywood to invest in diverse talent and casting.
Earlier this month, Michael B. Jordan and Color Of Change, an online racial justice organization led by Rashad Robinson, announced the launch of the #ChangeHollywood initiative that outlines a road map with concrete ways to invest in anti-racist content and authentic Black stories, invest in Black talent and reinvest police funds to support Black communities.
Contributing: Rasha Ali
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