When I was a little boy, I grow up watching movies starring James Dean and Marlon Brando, who were the icons of my generation. It was an image of a rebellious teenager and wearing denim clothing was the reflection of thier attitude and character. Later in my “teens years” they were still the cult stars and all girls in my school loved that rebellious look. I was everything, but not rebellious! I was shy and most of the time i was hiding in front of beautiful rebellious school girls. So, one day in order to be noticed i told to my mom that i would like to get one pair of jeans…. “and not any jeans” i would like to have; Levis 501. It was my dream to have Levis jeans! But, the problem was in that time (70-80 ties), I lived in Croatia (Former Yugoslavia) and we didn’t have on our local market nowhere to buy Levis jeans. So, my mom promised me if i pass the school year with a very good grades, she will take me to shopping in Trieste, Italy to buy my Levis jeans. WOW Yesssss! Oh boy , be sure i was the best student that year and i brought my mom the best grades. So, my mom kept her word and we went to look for my Levis 501.
It was 1979, the golden time of jeans shopping in Trieste …….
Currently in the film industry AKA “Hollywood” the lack of Native representation is astounding. As Jada Pinkett-Smith called for an Oscar Boycott, Spike Lee chimed in and I couldn’t help but agree as I thought about the almost compete invisibility of Native directors,writers and actors in the film industry let alone the Academy Awards. So of course
I created a #hashtag to start the discussion about the exclusion, invisibility and erasure of Native Americans / American Indians in film.
With the exception of “The Revenant” ( an amazing film previously discussed via this same blog) , Native Americans in film this year are entirely absent as usual. Natives are often used as dreamy vision props from a blurry Edward S. Curtis photo so a realistic heartfelt film with and about Native people is like the coveted Cobell Check, extremely rare. I’m highly impressed with Alejandro Gonzalez’s film and filmic attention to detail. I know for a fact he scouted Native communities across the country to cast his revenge epic. The work of Sterlin Harjo as a writer-director is filling a great void . Wes Studi as an actor has done groundbreaking work ( Michael Mann’s “HEAT” ) representing Natives In Film but that simply isn’t enough to make up for the extreme lack of Natives in the film industry and especially where content is concerned. There’s not enough #NativesInFilm for me to run out and congratulate Hollywood as racist trash like The Ridiculous Six is accepted and greenlit. Quite frankly it may never be enough. I want to see all Indians on TV and at the movies, all the time. Don’t get me wrong though, I love all types of film performances I just don’t think there’s enough indigenous content.
As a filmmaker and artist myself, I feel a deep obligation to comment on the times we live in and bring an awareness of this disparity in the film and television world. I created an actual series of images, photos and memes all using the hashtag to address the institutional racist exclusion of Native people from film.
Feel free to share these. There are many discussions currently centered around sexism and racism in Hollywood pointing at its endemic racist and sexist policies.
I’ve used my Apache Skateboards (c. 2004 )painting of Marlon Brando inspired by his grand eloquent filmic performance as fictional aging mafioso Vito Corleone in one meme for specific reasons. Brando sort of became the “celebrity patron saint” for Indian Issues in the 70’s when he boldly turned down his Academy Award Oscar for “The Godfather”.
Brando’s award rejection upset the Hollywood elite and almost crashed his career at the time. His bold move though created for a moment in time an awareness of the oppression of Native people in this country and in particular its treatment of Indians in film.
So this year when we watch (or don’t watch) the Oscars, remember to forget the “Straight Outta Compton” , “Creed” and “Beasts Of No Nation” snubs and don’t forget our rallying cry and amazing hashtag simply because , there ain’t no Indians there anyways.
Well, another year has gone by and I met some incredible people this year that I’m glad to consider my friends and they have some of the best blogs ever! Thank you guys for sticking with me and putting up with me for another year lol.
It’s the end of the year which means another follow forever! I think this is the 4th year I’ve been on Tumblr. Remember PeetaMellarkable? (AHHHH). But I’d like to thank everyone on this list (+blogroll) for making my Tumblr experience enjoyable. I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday season. Can’t wait to see what 2015 brings to the table! Maybe David Lynch will direct again who knows?