Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action Flix.com readers. Actress and stunt professional Crystal Santos and I have in the past had discussions about the practice about hiring white stunt professionals for Latino and African-American people, and making them appear racially diverse. Sadly Crystal says still in late 2020 she tells me that this proactive is still going on.
In my opinion, with the wealth of performers available worldwide, there is no shortage of people willing and ready to travel to hone their craft. Yes this is a hard time for performers in all forms of entertainment, yet by not hiring diverse, competent talent in the long run the industry will suffer. Film and TV are global with the power of streaming services, why can't the stunt people and even the crew be as diverse as the global audience that consumes the programming. SAG-AFTRA and Producers all over the world need to come to a working agreement to end this practice.
I have had the opportunity to interview several culturally diverse stunt women in my writing career: Angela Meryl, Ming Qiu, Tamiko Brownlee, Yessenia Cossio, and of course writing about Crystal and her thoughts. Just because a person is of a different race, creed, or background does not mean they wont work just as hard as their white counterparts. All they want is to be given the opportunity to work and or audition for the casting.
Crystal Santos sent me a press release detailing several performers who have witnessed this racially bias and unattractive situation and have actively written letters to the SAG-AFTRA Union
Crystal States the following in her lengthy letter:
It is my hope that our union will meet the expanded competitive needs of the entertainment industry’s goals for diversity and inclusion; and that we as performers will have our union’s solid support to implement diversity and inclusion throughout the industry and within our union."
" It can be stated, that our Union and the Studios and Producers have let us down, they have never truly protected and provided equal opportunity for performers of color. They simply rebranded and relabeled BlackFace, BrownFace, RedFace, YellowFace with the term paintdowns. As long as this word paintdowns remains in our SAG-AFTRA and Entertainement industry language giving the illusion of authorizing the entertainment industry the use of paintdowns, we stunt performers of color will never receive equal opportunity. This problem bleeds into every sector of the union affecting actors, background, stand-ins etc. Paintdowns need to stop if we are really ever going to achieve equality."
There are two excellent articles written on the subject by Variety and Deadline written on the subject rather than paraphrasing please refer to the links below.
The Deadline article has statements about this practice:
Recently SAG-AFTRA has issued a statement on the matter, hopefully this will be the start of more inclusion measures on into 2021 and beyond
is a petition to sign, but of also importance is to support by paying
to watch films and shows that celebrate diversity.
As a final comment, I challenge all my other writers in the action film genre to write and speak about this to people you know in the business, this will also work to change the narrative on this practice.
An online petition has begun for a call to action: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/377/872/772/ending-hollywoods-dirtiest-amp-longest-kept-secret/
I urge all of my readers to sign the petition and share on your own personal pages.
The following SAG-AFTRA members have signed this historical Call to Action for Diversity and Inclusion in Stunts:
Crystal Santos (LA), Jwaundace Candece (Atlanta), LaFaye Baker (LA), Geo Corvera (LA), Melissa Tracy (LA), John Kreng (LA), Janeshia Adams-Ginyard (LA), Dino Dos Santos (Atlanta), Erik Betts (LA), April Weeden (LA),Anita Clay (LA), Diana Lee Inosanto (LA), Ron Balicki (LA), Robert Samuels (NY),Robert Redfeather (LA), Laura Cordova (LA), Edwin Garcia (LA),Shawn Balentine(LA), Manny Ayala (NY), Keisha Tucker (LA), Mikal Kartvedt(LA),Wayne King Jr.(LA), Henry Priest (LA), Demetrius Angelo(NY), Jason Crow (LA), Carrie AnnieBernans (LA), Hymnson Chan (LA), Evan Copage (LA), C.C. Taylor (LA), ArnoldChon (Atlanta), Darlene Ava Williams(Miami), Kathy Jarvis (LA) ONE VOICE FOR CHANGE!