Hollywood darling Meryl Streep is dealing with a PR debacle today over comments she made addressing the lack of diversity in the film world. Streep was asked at the Berlin International Film Festival about the issue after it was noted that the judges panel, which she resides over as president, was comprised of all White people. “We’re all Africans really,” Streep is being quoted as saying.
According to the AP, when an Egyptian reporter pressed Streep on if the panel was qualified to judge films from North Africa and the Middle East, Streep responded, “I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures … There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we’re all from Africa originally. Berliners, we’re all Africans really.”
Streep noted that she’s committed to including people “of all genders, races, ethnicities, religions” in the festival, but Twitter was not here for it.
Meryl Streep is so good at acting I never even realised she was African American this whole time
— livi the skivvy (@_snozzberry_) February 11, 2016
I want to be shocked by what Meryl Streep said, but she’s an older white woman. Shame she can’t be Barack Obama in his life story anymore.
— Kanye Pest (@CorporateBarbie) February 11, 2016
“We’re all Africans.Except that the police won’t kill us,the film companies prefer us and nobody calls us n*****.” -Meryl Streep
— Joseph Ang (@JosephbyNature) February 11, 2016
While a lot of these tweets are funny, particularly the one about Streep playing Barack Obama in his biopic, some critics may be missing the A-lister’s point. Her “We’re all Africans” stance stems from an academic argument referred to as the “Out of Africa” hypothesis. It maintains that man as a species originated in Africa, and over the time thanks to migration, climate and diet, vary greatly in our modern physical appearances. That’s the just of the hypothesis anyway, this isn’t a damn science blog, but you get the point.
What Streep is missing however is that today, in 2016, race and culture impact perspective. By failing to diversify her judge’s panel, she’s limiting that perspective.
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