Transcript of Episode 7
LaMondre Pough: Welcome to 3DVU, one conversation, three different perspectives. I’m LaMondre Pough.
David Pérez: I am David Perez.
Richard Streitz: And I am Richard Streitz. Thank you for joining us.
LaMondre Pough: On August 28th, 2020 the world, awoke to some very sad news. It was the passing of actor, Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer. The world was shocked because no one knew that he was dealing with this illness because he did so in secrecy, he did so, being very quiet and going about his work. And Chadwick Boseman is known for some incredible roles, uh, roles that were really representative of the African American community. Uh, he was Jackie Brown in the movie for the, um, yeah, Jackie Robinson, I’m sorry, Jackie Robinson in the movie 42. He was James Brown in Get on Up. He was Thurgood Marshall and the movie Marshall, but his most popular and most praise role was King T’Challa in Black Panther.
And today we’re going to talk about representation and why representation matters. Black Panther was a blockbuster film, which grossed over a million dollars, excuse me, a billion dollars with a B worldwide. And, this was the first time a movie that was led by an African American actor, uh, that had, this, uh, the, the cast was predominantly black people, had grossed this much and had this kind of a budget and this kind of a, um, had this kind of an impact. And so we want to talk about why representation matters. What are the issues around representation and what does it mean? Um, for diversity to be represented particularly, uh, in the area of arts. And I can tell you from, from my perspective, when, when I went to the theaters to see Black Panther for the first time, it was indeed a great film, but there was something bigger than it just being a great film.
It actually touched me in a way that I would almost categorize a spiritual. Because there was somewhat of, there was somewhat of an awakening, um, in me in terms of being able to, to not only see, uh, people who look like me doing these amazing things on film, but there was also a history that was represented very well.
There was a culture that was represented very well, but here’s the thing. It was not listed as a black film. It was not listed as, ‘Oh yes. We have to put this over into the category of a urban film or an ethnic film in any way’. It was a film about a superhero. It was simply a great film. And so that, that really said something to me and it spoke to me in a different way. Guys?
Richard Streitz: Well, you know, I would say that, you know, hats off to Marvel for, um, For being really forward thinking and, and making the conscious decision of not making it all about a, um, a black lead or a black star. That was, you know, it, that wasn’t, it, it, it just was, he was, he was the, he was the character that was the superhero.
And he was the, he was the, the, the context of that. And it was, they, they just marketed it, like they would’ve marketed any other film without necessarily any pretense about it. And, and I think that, you know, that’s, that’s the right way, that’s the right thing. There shouldn’t be any of that. Um, and so, you know, certainly kudos to them for, for choosing to do that and, and, and moving in that direction.
Um, you know, in regards to just the, what we know now was the personal sacrifice that the actor himself went through during the filming of that, he was going through treatments and so forth and, and no, and, and very, very privately. I mean, you know, that there was none of that, um, that was made public until after the fact.
Um, and, uh, and, so, so what a great sacrifice for, for art, uh, you know, in essence for art and entertainment, which only goes to show you the commitment that he had as, as a performer, as a professional in making sure that, um, that what his personal, um, um, challenges were weren’t interfering with the performances that he was producing.
Cause it was, it was, it was long evidently cause there were a couple of films that he was going through these treatments, uh, and a couple of different times.
LaMondre Pough: Yeah.
David Pérez: Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. And the effect of Black Panther was a global thing. It was not only something that stayed in the U S and, Marvel is completely global.
So that, the fact that there were so many people that could identify with this superhero is completely mindset changing, I think. And I think that that’s probably what drove him to still record despite all of all the suffering he was going through. I think he knew the power that popular culture could have towards changing the world. Because as societies, we are built from what we understand of the world and that understanding of the world comes from what we consume. And that consumerism that we, that we do day by day is of course of everything that we see and that we, that we get through shows, radio, YouTube. And of course, movies and television that, that builds our, our psyche that builds who we are and how we interact with the world.
And representation matters because it’s a way of including people in society. Starting from, from the basic more unconscious parts of, of the, of the mind. And I think that’s the most significant inclusion that we can get.
LaMondre Pough: Absolutely. And, and I think that when we talk about representation matters, I want to give just some examples of, of, of really the power, um, of that.
I think about how, for the longest, particularly in the Dawn of, of of Hollywood, how black people were portrayed in movies. Uh, you know, this is where you got, um, you know, Stepin Fetchit, where you’ve got, um, you know, really slow speaking, um, shiftless, um, these images of, of, of reinforcing stereotypes of, you know, black people being lazy and uneducated and dim-witted.
Um, and this was, this was what was put out there. This is what was promoted. This is what, this is the only thing that you could see of yourself. And here’s the thing. It wasn’t just about black people seeing themselves on screen being portrayed this way. This also reinforced what white people and others thought and saw of black people.
And honestly that continued along for, for a long time, by and large, by and large. And what I mean by that people will point out, well, what about Sidney Poitier? Or what about…, you’re right. There were Sidney Poitiers, but it was Sidney Poitier. You know, in other words, he became the exception and not the rule.
And unfortunately that train continued. Um, we looked at what happened with the blaxploitation films of the seventies. Um, and then even in the, the eighties where every time you saw a black character, um, you know, he was a drug dealer, he was a thug or, or, or one of these kinds of things. And this was the majority of the kinds of roles that were available.
In fact, Chadwick Boseman talks about, uh, when he was on a soap opera. And, uh, he played this, um, this guy who had some, some, uh, some tough times. Uh, in his life and, you know, he, he did his part and it was only supposed to be like for a short run, like maybe one or two episodes. And the executives brought him in the room and they said, we’re really happy with your performance and it, and then, the story is out there.
He, you know, he’s told it multiple times, ‘we really enjoyed your performance. Uh, and we want you to be around for a long time. And if there’s anything you need from us, just let us know’. And he saw this as an entry. He said, well, I tell you what, I have some questions about my actor, about my character. Um, and so he’s like, so it says that his father, that my character’s father wasn’t around.
Why, why wasn’t his father around? And it was like, well, he left when he was younger. Of course, of course. Then he asks, he said, well, it says that the mother, my mother was, um, was incapable of raising myself and I believe a sibling. And he was like, why was that? Why wouldn’t she be able to take care of us?
And they said, because she was on heroin. Of course, of course. Yeah. And he said, yeah, well, I just wanted some background because those things could actually have happened, but I just wanted some background. And I wanted to be able to understand the background of my character. And they looked at his resume and they said, We’ll keep an eye on you.
And they put the resume on the desk. He went home the very next day, his agent called and said, uh, they decided to go another way. We won’t need you for this anymore. And so what happened was these assumptions about who black people were. We’re prolific in this and it was over and over and over again. I even think about the nineties, the characters that really stood out and there were some groundbreaking things that happened there, but again, predominantly thugs, drug dealers, prostitutes without.
And so just as positive as Black Panther, the movie was for people of color for black people. Those other movies, those other media elements were negative and they reinforced negative stereotypes. And this is why I say representation is so important.
Richard Streitz: Well, you know, one of the things that as you were talking about that, that comes to mind is ‘art imitates life’.
Um, you know, the, the, the term art imitates life and how art, um, and I, at any level, whether it’s film or, or, or, or any one of the traditional arts or, you know, painting and music and so forth, it tends to be a refelection of society of the time. Um, and. And I think if you look at films as sort of a microcosm of art, of a slice of, of the art and entertainment, um, uh, and, and you, and you look how that has sort of reflected the times.
One of the things I think that is encouraging is as a result of these industries becoming more mature and more in tune with what’s happening around, um, film like Black Panther and how that was handled, how, how it’s marketing, how it was treated, how the, you know, the producer, the executive staff and Marvel, um, um, chose to, to move forward with that is, is positive and how that’s sort of what we’re going through now and we’re experiencing. I mean, we’re seeing all sorts of unrest that’s happened to, you know, globally, um, based on, on equality, because I think we’re at a time and place, globally, culturally, societaly as a, as a species of realizing that this is really important now.
Um, it’s not that it wasn’t important before, but it wasn’t as front and center. Um, and now it is just absolutely front and center and not just here in the U S but all over the world. It’s a global, you know, as we’ve talked before, it’s a global major global movement and. And so I think in many ways that the treatment of that sort of sets a new precedent.
Sets a bar as to how these materials, how this material should and needs to be treated in the future. Um, and again, as we’re talking about this particular film, specifically. But really in all art, um, you know, whether it’s music, all types of genres, of music, um, art and traditional art sculpting, painting, what have you, um, we’re, we’re seeing a trend where there is much more prominence, um, um, put on just the talent itself, as opposed to where that individual came from and the color of that individual skin or, or, you know, that, that sort of thing we’re seeing a little more broader general acceptance, which is the right thing to do. That’s what we should be doing.
David Pérez: Yeah. In many ways, I think that it is true that art imitates life. But I also think that life in many ways, imitates art.
Richard Streitz: Well, yeah, it goes both ways. Absolutely. Yeah.
David Pérez: So it becomes a vicious circle of art,
Richard Streitz: Yeah, which is of benefit to the problem.
David Pérez: being, imitating life.
Yeah. Art imitates life, life imitates art feeds from those perceptions, those perceptions create policies, those policies create realities, and those realities are not always what we want them to be. Right. So that, that breaking of the mold through, through something like Black Panther, and of course that democraticization of art, I think that has happened is of course bringing new perceptions to, to the people, to the general population, the ones that in some way or another are going to end up shaping the future of the world. So it’s incredible. The power that actually art has to, to shape a society in every single level. Like everything that happens from when you drive down the street to when the president makes a, an executive order, it’s all fed through, through art. Art represents it. And art is also making sure that they are, they are part of the, of the social psyche.
LaMondre Pough: Right. Right. And I couldn’t agree more that it is cyclical, but I also think that what’s important too, to keep in mind with this. It also depends on who is administering and who is controlling the art that is produced publicly. Because here’s the thing I know since the Dawn of filmmaking, whenever people got access to it, there were people, black people who were making, uh, art and films and music and everything that was uplifting, empowering, and really represented what we really are as a people.
However, it was not what was promoted. It was not what was pushed. It was not what was seen before the masses. And this again is why representation is important because the truth is you could have the best, you could be the best, but if no one else gets to see you being the best and having the best, no one knows all they’re going to know is what’s being represented.
And I’ll give you a prime example of that right now. I love music. I am, and I know Richard and David. I know you guys also, uh, are, are music lovers. And I’m a fan of hip hop. Um, and I, I grew up on old school hip hop. I grew up on Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Kurtis Blow and all of these folks.
And I remember growing up to an age of conscious hip hop when everything was, you know, was about being uplifted and all those kinds of things, but something changed, something changed. And I’m talking about what was popular because at that time, popular hip hop was conscious hip hop. It was Poor Righteous Teachers.
It was A Tribe called Quest. It was, it was Brand Nubian. It was, it was these groups who really gave a message Queen Latifah. Um, but now what is popular is not really uplifting kinds of things. And I’m not trying to give a commentary on whether it’s good or not, whether it’s right or not. But when I am saying is, it seems to be extremely one-sided now, and there are artists out there producing incredibly good music.
That’s really positive. That’s really delivering a message, but it’s not, what’s being pushed by major labels. Most of these artists that are doing more conscious, uh, kind of music, are independents. They’re not the ones with the big budgets. They’re not the ones with that. And you know, on the one hand, people say, well, this is what people are buying, but they’re buying it because that’s what you’re pushing.
So it becomes this, it becomes the cycle. And one of the things about Black Panther that stood out to me, was not just the faces that were on camera, but it was about all the people in the background that also made it work. And so when you look at the set designers, when you looked at the costume designers, when you look at
Richard Streitz: consistent
LaMondre Pough: and when you look at the director, Ryan Coogler, when, when, when you will look at the executives that pushed it forward, representation matters because in each of those roles, they were black people.
That pushed that forward. And you see, what I recognize is that so many times, particularly in the background of arts organizations and arts company, it’s not the people who the story is being told about that’s actually pushing the story. That’s actually creating it. That’s actually doing the work. So I think Black Panther was monumental and not just because of what we saw on the screen, because what we saw on the screen was the coming together of what happened behind the scenes.
And there was a mix of diversity there was a, there was an authority of blackness, uh, that, that really pushed that forward in the end. I think that that is one of the things that made it so great.
Richard Streitz: Well, you know, I think the, um, representation at all aspects of art from the management administration to the actual artists themselves is so critical.
And there there’s certainly, without question, there’s been a deficit of that, um, management and production has been very one sided in dealing with, um, with diverse artists and as a result, it’s, it doesn’t end up necessarily, um, following the same, more traditional paths that, that other artists may, and, and that’s because of the potential blinds, um, blinders that are on, um, uh, producer or, or management staff or what have you.
Um, and, and so, you know, I absolutely agreed that there’s, um, there has always been a huge deficit in that, and. But, having said that, I think one of the things that’s, again, very encouraging, it’s something that you touched on about the, the independence, um, you know, through the advent of the great ability to be able to self produce and self-promote now, um, you know, like you, you, you know, YouTube, for example, I mean artists and, and, and our, our be able to, to promote their own stuff and, and the, the public opinion now can carry it without necessarily having to go through a producer or through a label, if it’s good and it’s, and it’s, and it’s popular and it’s shared boom, it goes from zero to, you know, a billion people in, in nothing flat, uh, around the world and, and without ever having to deal with, uh, a particular label.
Um, and so in many respects, that’s sort of a wake up call. For a lot of these, uh, more traditional labels and realizing that, you know, they don’t necessarily have that controlling power anymore as to what people see or control or from a financials point, how they can control a money funnel, money funneling through their organizations in order to promote a specific individual.
Right? I mean, anyone can go out now and again, if the art is good, if the, if the art, uh, whatever, whatever is being produced is something that’s attractive to the, to the larger, broader general public. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s going to stick.
LaMondre Pough: Right but.
Richard Streitz: That brings up a whole other question. But, but anyway, yeah, I just wanted to point that out.
LaMondre Pough: No, and that’s a good thing to point out, but I also think that that is a part of, of,
what makes it so important for larger studios and mainstream outlets to pay more attention to representation, because here’s the thing that I realized you said if it’s good, well, here’s the thing. You may have an excellent story. And, you may have, uh, uh, uh, an excellent way of telling that story, but you don’t have, but you don’t have the resources to really pull that out.
You might not have the artistry. You might not have the artisans to make it happen. So what could have been is then diminished, even though it’s a great story.
Richard Streitz: Yeah, you’re right.
LaMondre Pough: You might not have the marketing machine behind it, or, you know, some things that you might not understand the algorithms that make it go viral.
So this is why again, and I will tell you, you know, we see, particularly in the music industry, uh, how, how, you know, record companies are trying their hardest to catch up now. Um, you know, because, because they don’t know how to do it, but still yet, you’ve got incredible budgets. You still have incredible amounts of money.
That’s pushing stuff that may not necessarily be what, um, what the community’s really want or need as we’ve discussed the importance of art, you know?
David Pérez: Yeah, no, and that’s the thing, there’s, there’s a difference between want and need. And I think that big corporations have always felt that they know what we need better than we actually do.
LaMondre Pough: Right.
David Pérez: And the democraticization of art that I was talking about is specifically about people being able to create, even if it’s not with the resources of big corporations. But they are being able to create, put it out there and people are, are actually listening and seeing things that wouldn’t have been able to exist any other way.
There’s a, there’s a great sample of this and it’s, there’s going to be a new like recreation of the Prince, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
LaMondre Pough: Right.
David Pérez: The Will Smith series, show. They are doing it. It’s completely different. It’s not a comedy, it’s a drama. It’s, it’s all about the hardships of a young black man in Bel-Air and what he has to deal with, because of his situation.
Richard Streitz: Ah interesting.
David Pérez: This sparked from a YouTube video, a trailer that a kid put together because he had the idea and he just wanted to put something together. He put the trailer together, Will Smith was into YouTube at the time.
So he saw it and he was like, I want to produce that. And they’re going to do it.
LaMondre Pough: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s the same thing with Issa Rae. Uh, you know, she has a, she has the show on HBO called ‘insecure’ and I remember, uh, Issa Rae’s YouTube, uh, show, um, I think it was like Chronicles of an insecure black girl or something, or an awkward black girl or something like that. And it was amazing.
It was absolutely amazing. And from that was spawned this. And so I am, I am thankful for the new mediums that are more independent and that allow for people to, um, really express themselves on their own terms. Um, however, I still see a great need for major studios and major entities to really put that together, to have that machine behind them.
And I’m glad that folks are starting to take a look at it, but I’m gonna tell you something else. That’s been really powerful for me. And that’s Tyler Perry and what Tyler Perry has been able to do, um, with, uh, with his work. And it, it absolutely blows my mind regardless of how you feel about the Medea character and, and, and, and the plays, doesn’t really matter, look at what he has been able to do and look at how he’s employing so many people and how he’s putting, he, he, to me, he was the definition of, ‘if you won’t allow me to have a seat at the table, I’ll create my own table’ and that’s precisely what he did.
And so now he has this, you know, hundreds of acres in, in Atlanta, that’s dedicated to his production company and portions of Black Panther were shot there. Portions of The Walking Dead were shot there. And if you don’t think that, even though those things really didn’t have his fingerprint on it, that, because he was able to do that, that he influenced that you’re dead wrong.
And so these are the kinds of things that I’m talking about when I say representation matters. His lot is bigger than the lots in Hollywood. It’s amazing. His, his area is bigger than all three of them, you know, the major ones. So it’s, um, it’s, it, it, it, again goes to speak why representation matters.
And just to forward this a little bit, I don’t want me to talk about some of the, the, the, the reasons why representations matters, representation matters. And I found, I found an article online. It gives five reasons as to why representations ma, representation matter. I don’t know what’s wrong with my mouth today.
Why representation matters. And number one, it says everyone should have characters or images they can relate to.
Richard Streitz: Yeah.
LaMondre Pough: And when I think about relating to, um, characters and, and, and, and heros again, I go to, to T’Challa, uh, in Black Panther. But I think about all of the strong women, the strong black women in that movie and how, like the general of the Wakandan army was, you know, she, it, it was, it was.
She was fierce. She was, she was loyal, she was unrelenting and she was a woman. It wasn’t a thing where it was a, um, it wasn’t a thing where it was pointed out. It just was. And I thought that that was absolutely powerful.
Richard Streitz: Yeah. Uh, you know, you bring up a good point of, of gender being put into the mix of that because ,there’s especially in the past, probably five or six years, we’ve seen, a litany of, of, of, uh, films, again, going, sticking with films, but also through other art genres as well, where women are, are, are being much more, um, prominent in their, um, in, in their promotion of, of their works. Uh, and, uh, you know, and this speaks again, I think to the larger opening up of of studios record labels and so forth. Of realizing the gap that’s existed for so many years, that’s become just really painfully obvious and that to be relevant and to be, um, to be up with what’s happening now to be, to be socially conscious that they really are forced to have to, um, come up to, uh, to where we as a, uh, as a, as a larger societal culture are, are, want to go.
Um, and, and, and being able to represent that. And is it as fast as it should be? You know, uh, that that’s of course is a, is a, is a larger debate, a debate issue. And, and the fact that we have to catch up at all, means that we’re too far behind. So, you know, there’s, there’s that, but, but at least there is progress being made and, and so that’s, that, that is good.
And, and, you know, you bring up, um, um, Tyler Perry and what he’s done. Um, you know, you’re right. Whether or not you like the fran, you know, the, the, the media, um, franchise that he’s created is really immaterial. It’s what he’s done really behind the scenes in, in promoting that is far, far more important and critical to the promotion of that.
And there’s a number of individuals like him as well that have done the similar, done similar things, not necessarily to that scale, but. But certainly helped with the promotion of, um, representation in the industry. Um, and as a result, the, the industry. That industry being the film industry, but there’s, there’s a lot of sub industries that are related to the film industry.
You know, when you, when you’re talking about marketing and, and, um, and you get into the technical aspects of the other production itself, whether it’s lighting and camera work and, and, and, you know, when all of that, the product, the production, um, of sets and special effects, and, you know, there’s just a myriad of, of industries that are associated with, uh, with when we, when we say the film industry.
So, um, You know, I think that’s really, really important that you point that out because that is certainly a key and it, and the, the positive aspect is, so that sets the trend for younger individuals that are growing up that see that, that, that, like you said, they, they visually identify to that and say, ‘Hey, you know what?
I can do that. I want to do that since it is something that I can do. And if he or she is doing it, I can do that’.
David Pérez: Yeah. And that’s the thing. It opens, opens doors.
Richard Streitz: Yeah.
David Pérez: And when door, doors are open, people can take the path that they want and
Richard Streitz: It provides options.
David Pérez: It provides options. And that’s, that’s the cool thing of technology.
I think that it has opened up all the options to anyone. Anyone can create a movie in their home. Everyone can create music in their computer. It’s just a matter of being able to access that. And that’s why I think also that accessibility is so important. Right. Right. If we provide the tools for accessibility, it’s probably going to happen that we’re going to see the same effects from the community of people with disabilities.
LaMondre Pough: Right.
David Pérez: That the black community is already getting from representation in movies and art in general.
LaMondre Pough: Right. And that leads me to point number two, that it helps us to embrace our culture. So whatever whoever ‘us’ is and whatever ‘our’ is, it helps us to embrace our culture. Again, you know, thinking about the beauty of movies, like The Color Purple.
Or, you know, and, and, and just seeing the, the, the Southern roots of that movie, and I’m talking about, you know, not necessarily the story, the story line of the movie, but how the backdrop was also a part of that. And I resonated with that so much from my childhood being around my, my, my grandparents and my great-grandparents.
And just thinking about the environment in which they lived, um, you know, the, the, the, the wooden houses and the fields and the livestock and the music, all of that was a celebration. Of who and what we are. And even, even in Black Panther, um, you know, the different cultures that were represented, um, and, and how beautiful it was.
But I think of, I think of other stories that, you know, taught me about, um, Italian heritage or Spanish heritage, and just being able to appreciate my own culture or wrap my arms around that, but also being able to appreciate the culture of others.
Richard Streitz: Right. Well, you know, the authentic, the authenticity that’s represented in that I think only shows and shines through when you have individuals who are to represent, who represent those cultures involved in the process.
You know, when you have artisans who. Um, who are somehow connected to that culture, whatever, whatever, whatever it is, um, that comes through in the final production of whatever is being crafted. Um, and so I, I think that that level of authenticity goes a long way. And if you look at films that were done earlier, um, you know, and say that like the forties and fifties, you know, way, way back then you can see that you don’t have that richness and depthness in, in the portrayals of those, uh, of those settings of those movies.
And one of the reasons for that is because there’s a lack of authenticity. Um, the backgrounds and the imagery are all stereotypes that are, again, sort of a reflection of that time when you deal with any sort of eth, any one of the ethnics, uh, ethnicities that were that are portrayed in movies at the time.
Um, and so it’s sort of interesting when you, when you see that, that, that one of the reasons why films now tend to be a little more rich, a little more engaging and a little more immersive is because there’s an authenticity to, um, to the various, uh, the various crafts that are represented in being able to create a final product, whether it’s music, film, art, whatever, whatever the medium is.
LaMondre Pough: Yeah. Yeah. And I’ll tell you one of the, um, one of the things that you, just really quickly before we move to the next point. Um, there were, they were doing an audio description of the movie Fences. Uh, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, and there was one particular scene where Denzel was standing outside and he’s drinking and he pours a little bit out.
Uh, and they didn’t want to, or the person who was doing the audio description that didn’t want to include that as a part of a descriptive act in there. Well, the issue with leaving that out is that is a part of the culture, that is a part of the culture and it, it informs the story just as much as the lines do.
So it was important. So leaving that part out for individuals who were blind or who were using the audio descriptions really was leaving a part of the experience out. And so it was, he was pouring some out for the brothers who wasn’t there, the brothers who had passed on it was a way of paying homage to ancestors.
And the truth is leaving that out, left out a part of the culture. And so it was a big thing that, that we had to get that included in the audio description of it so that people could embrace, understand and appreciate the culture. The third thing was that there are stories that are missing. There are simply stories that are not told, so having representation in that allows those stories to be told.
Richard Streitz: Well, yeah, again, it adds a richness right. To, to whatever culture is being represented. Um, again, sort of in a mainstream way, we only know more, more, um, broader, you know, in broad strokes about cultures and about traditions and so forth, but not necessarily really into the fine details of them.
Then again, that can only be brought out by someone who’s authentic and being able to, to talk and discuss that. And by, by having that level of representation, we have a, we, we would have a much more often or much better opportunity, of having those stories that are the nuanced stories and, and, and part of a culture that, that can come out that aren’t just the sort of broad strokes, um, a more traditional mainstream ones that are, that are over promoted, right?
David Pérez: Yeah. And the problem with not telling stories is that they get forgotten.
Richard Streitz: Yeah. Yeah,
David Pérez: completely. There are whole languages that are nonexistent anymore just because we didn’t
LaMondre Pough: didn’t tell the story
David Pérez: represent them.
Richard Streitz: Yeah.
David Pérez: We didn’t tell the story. So absolutely. It’s fundamental.
Richard Streitz: Well, storytelling, uh, you know, is, is so critical to all civilization from the Dawn of time.
From the time we’re sitting around, you know, fires, uh, in a cave, storytelling is something that is just absolutely fundamental and we can have the most technologically advanced civilization and everything around us, but it all, all of those mechanisms ultimately come down to being different ways of being to tell a story, um, being able to, to continue and perpetuate those stories.
You know, in the old days it was hand, it wa it was mouth to ear, right. Is how those traditions and stories work we’re passed on. Now, of course we have much more sophisticated ways of doing that, but in its essence, it’s still the same thing. It’s about passing on the traditions of a story. Um, and, and, and, and as a result, um, traditions of a culture or many cultures.
LaMondre Pough: Absolutely. And we started talking about passing down those traditions. The other, the fourth point is that it’s realistic. You know, those, those those traditions, those, those those practices, those different things. It really represents the reality of that particular culture. By seeing someone from that culture.
I’ll never forget. The first time I saw, uh, Cleopatra being represented by Elizabeth Taylor. And I was a little kid, I mean, and you know, I, you know, the movie was made before I was born, but when I first saw it, I was a little kid. And I was trying to understand why did my mother have a problem with this because my mother was livid about it.
Right. And I, you know, whenever it came on, she just changed the channel. And I didn’t quite understand why, but it was, Elizabeth Taylor being Cleopatra, and this couldn’t have been further from the truth or, or, or how many actors have we seen? Uh, portraying and playing people with disabilities when there were people with disabilities who were actors that could have done the job and could have done it more effectively, and it would have been a realistic portrayal.
And then that’s not to besmirch anyone who has done the job and act as an actor. I get that, but if you can actually have a realistic representation of who, and particularly if it’s a, not a fantasy thing, but it’s an actual, an actual person who lived, uh, or is living to have that representation there, I think is extremely important and we’re running short on time.
But the last one that I wanted to talk about was number five, because everyone deserves to see themselves as their hero.
Richard Streitz: Yeah, well, absolutely. Uh, and I think that goes to, that goes to the tradition of storytelling. Um, that one of the powerful elements of storytelling is being able to see ourselves in those stories and, and allowing as a result of seeing us fit into those storylines, whatever character we, we relate to in a story that helps push us, um, and guide us to, or, or motivate us to do whatever we want to pursue in life and, and, uh, or, or, um, yeah, I mean, so I think that’s fundamental.
David Pérez: Yeah, no, it is. It is. It definitely is that the fact that you can see yourself in, in a video game, in a movie. It of course feeds into your, your being. It makes you feel better about your chances of succeeding in this difficult thing that we, that we have that we call life. So it’s going to be incredibly important going forward.
LaMondre Pough: Yeah. And I’ll tell you, um, just this, this last point about seeing yourself in your heroes and seeing yourself. As a hero, I think about what the election of president Barack Obama meant, um, for black people in the country. And it meant a lot for white people as well to see that. In fact, I think it may have meant more for white people to see that.
But for me, regardless as to what you thought about policy, regardless as to what you thought, um, uh, in terms of political alignment. Just seeing that representation there meant that there were kids who couldn’t say before. ‘I could see myself doing that’. I think one of the most poignant and one of the most beautiful photographs ever taken was president Obama leaning over as a little boy, touched his hair, because he said, I wanted to know if his hair felt like mine.
Richard Streitz: that’s poignant, just a powerful, poignant moment.
LaMondre Pough: You know, that, that, that, um, that spoke volumes to me, just as the representation of Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa spoke volumes to billions around the world. And what it means for the future. Black Panther was a film that changed the movie industry. And I would dare say, has changed some lives.
It has least at least changed the perspective on how people see film, how people see heroes and how people see movies. And in doing that, you change the world. So, art matters and representation matters. And if you’re an artist, if you are a person that’s thinking, ‘Hey, this area, I’m passionate about this area.
I want to do this, but I don’t see anybody who looks like me doing this’, do it anyway. Do it anyway, because representation matters and your voice could be the voice that changes that perception for someone coming up behind you. So as you walked through the doors, as you approached the doors and you turn the knob and you walk through, leave it open for someone else to walk through it.
Why? Because representation matters. And as you ascend to your pedestals shine, shine brightly, because somebody needs your light in order to see their way to doing something even greater. So thank you for listening to us today on 3DVU on watching us today. And we appreciate you. We’ll catch you the next time.
David Pérez: Thanks for joining us this week on 3DVU. Make sure to visit our website ruhglobal.com/3DVU. That’s ruhglobal.com/3DVU. Or you can subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts or join our YouTube channel so you will never miss a show. While you’re at it, if you find value in the show, we appreciate it if you will leave a life or comment or simply tell a friend about the show that would really help us a lot too. If you would like to join our conversations, you can join our Facebook community 3DVU, three perspectives, one conversation.