BLACK HISTORY IN HOLLYWOOD

BLACK HISTORY IN HOLLYWOOD

Over the years, millions of people and the NAACP have taken offense to the lack of a black presence in Hollywood and films produced there.  Last night at the NAACP Awards, Directors Guild of America (DGA) President Paris Barclay and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) chief Cheryl Boone Isaacs, were inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame at the organization’s 45th annual Image Awards ceremony.

Now, does this mean the face of Hollywood will look more diverse than ever over night?  Of course not, however, Isaacs is the third woman to become the AMPAS president in the organization’s 86-year history, and the first African-American to hold the position.  Barclay is the first black, openly gay Directors Guild of America president.  These are milestones for the black entertainment community and Hollywood.  A longtime marketing and publicity executive, Isaacs represented the Academy’s Public Relations Branch, and consulted on Best Picture Oscar winners “The Artist” and “The King’s Speech,” as the head of CBI Enterprises.  She also served as president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema and as executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount.  Her earlier publicity campaigns include Oscar winners “Forrest Gump” and “Braveheart.”cherylboonephoto  

Paris Barclay, is one of television’s most successful and honored directors.  After a successful career in advertising as a copywriter, Paris started his own production company.  His first directing gigs were for music videos featuring LL Cool J, Bob Dylan, and Harry Connick, Jr. among others.  Later he pursued endeavors in television, and has directed over 130 episodes of television, for the shows: “NYPD Blue,” “ER,” “The West Wing,” “Lost,” “The Good Wife,” “CSI,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “House,” “Glee,” and “Smash.”  He won two Emmys for his direction of “NYPD Blue” and has received four additional Emmy nominations and ten Directors Guild nominations.  He became the first Director in the history of the Guild to receive a comedy and drama nomination in the same year, two years in a row (2008 & 2009).  

parisbarclay2Prior to last night, Barclay received three NAACP Image Awards, for producing, co-creating, and directing “City of Angels”; and directing “Cold Case” and “Smash.”  He has been nominated for the Image Award for Directing in a Drama Series every year it has been offered, from 2006 to 2012.  He’s also received honors such as four prestigious Peabody Awards, two Humanitas Prizes, and countless other recognitions.  For the past two seasons, Paris has been an Executive Producer and the principal director for the FX show “Sons of Anarchy.”  He helmed the season five premiere of ‘Sons’ titled “Sovereign”, which became FX’s most watched program in their 17-year history, and is currently in production on the sixth season of the show.

His three film credits include the feature “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood,” which starred Marlon and Shawn Wayans; and television films “The Cherokee Kid,” that starred Sinbad for HBO; and “The Big Time” for TNT.  He also helps out charities including the Black AIDS Institute, Liberty Hill, GLAAD and Project Angel Food.

In addition to Isaacs and Barclay being honored for their accomplishments, Forest Whitaker was granted the Chairman’s Award this year from the NAACP at last night’s Image Awards.  http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2013/05/29/forest-whitaker-funks-up-the-butler/  Outside of Hollywood, Forest is involved in humanitarian causes, serving as the Unesco Goodwill Ambassador for peace and reconciliation.  He is also a member of the President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities, working with the Findley Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa.  

The Huffington Post; Variety; The Wrap; and the DGA website were all used as sources for this blog.

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