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Drawn at Dec 15 2010 | Production Diary

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BET results

Drawn at Apr 07 2010 | Production Diary

Many of you have reached out to ask how I feel about the results of BET’s “Lens on Talent” contest. Of course I’m disappointed I didn’t win. But more than that, I’m bothered that NO Black director won. Yeah, there’s a black face holding a check in the publicity photos, but the winning film “Spent” was directed by a white guy.



The film was co-written and produced by a Black woman, but it’s acknowledged in Hollywood (and around the world for that matter) that the director is the ultimate author of a film. I mean Geoffrey Fletcher wrote “Precious” (from a book by Sapphire) but it’s considered a Lee Daniels film, right? People write scripts for Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, etc. but when the films are released we consider these filmmakers the creative visionaries behind the films. They’re even marketed this way with “A Film By…” or A “Blankety-blank” film.

The director can always go back to Germany to make a film because the government subsidizes their indie filmmakers. Like my old college friend Robert Schwentke. After making his first feature with a grant he went on to direct “Flight Plan” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

For the record I’m not mad at him. And congrats to the winner. I hope she makes a great film. Less I be dismissed as a “hater” for pointing this out, the fact is I thought several of the final 6 films were as good or better than mine… “Locks” and “Jackson Parish” especially. Both made by good Black DIRECTORS.

When I was on the film fest circuit my film played at several big Asian and Asian-American film festivals. At one of them an Asian judge came up to me after the awards ceremony. He looked around then whispered, “If you were Asian, your film would have gotten an award.” I smiled, shook his hand, and said I was grateful for them just accepting my film into the festival. I knew the deal going in… this was THEIR festival to recognize, cultivate and encourage THEIR own. And that’s cool. Heck, I was just happy to be invited to the party!

But now I have to compete with white directors on the Black network? Would a Middle-Eastern, Jewish or Latino network do this? Guess we are in post-racial America afterall?

Or maybe you can still fool most of the people most of the time?

Enjoy your network, Black America. I’m grateful for being part of the contest and glad a lot of people got to see my film, but I’m going to do what I always do: find a way to keep creating and telling stories that are important to me… By Any Means Necessary.

- Joe D.
April 7, 2010

PS: You can watch the full 37-minute version of my film online (the BET version was 20 minutes) for $1.99 on Amazon.com where it’s in the Top 10 alongside major features!


Or order the DVD at www.akirashiphopshop.com

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» About Akira's Hip-Hop Shop


Akira's Hip-Hop Shop stars James Kyson Lee (NBC's "Heroes") and Emayatzy Corinealdi. Written and directed by Joe Doughrity.

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