In the year of "Black Panther," “Sorry to Bother You" and "BlacKkKlansman," black entertainment reporters describe being marginalized by Hollywood.
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock / Bosko
When BlackTree TV CEO and executive producer Jamaal Finkley sought opportunities to talk with “Girls Trip” talent prior to the film’s July 2017 release, he ran into an alarming roadblock. After submitting a request to cover the junket, he received an email from a Universal Pictures representative: “‘Girls Trip’ will be hard as we don’t have that many slots for AA,” meaning African-Americans.
Finkley, who shared the emails with IndieWire, replied to the studio: “You don’t have that many slots for AA for ‘Girls Trip’?! I don’t get it. Really. Makes no sense. What movie does have extra AA slots? … If I send a white person, will you have a slot?”
Today, Finkley still finds the exchange unsettling. BlackTree TV has over 226,000 YouTube subscribers, with more than 1 billion video views. “Designating us as limited because of the color of our skin and not because of the reach of our outlet,” he said. “I think it’s just an openly racist practice … The studio should invite me for my viewership, not because, ‘Oh, we have two slots for black people.’” A rep for Universal declined comment.