When “Black Panther” was released in 2018, it was praised in the Black community and considered a major leap forward. That had a lot to do with a nearly all-Black cast, and people getting the rare chance to see a Black superhero on the big screen.
It was also revealed during the film’s release that many of those behind the scenes were Black, another rarity in Hollywood.
But while some may think that Black people filling positions like producer or costume designer was a positive move, Anthony Mackie said it only confirmed Marvel’s lack of diversity.
Mackie played Falcon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seven times, starting with 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” He shed light on some of his first-hand knowledge of what a Marvel film set looks like in an interview for Variety with actor Daveed Diggs.
“It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies now. Every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white,” he told Diggs at the 17:07 mark of the talk.
“But then when you do ‘Black Panther,’ you have a Black director, Black producer, you have a Black costume designer, you have a Black stunt choreographer,” added Mackie. “And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”
Mackie is starring in the upcoming Marvel series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney Plus, while Diggs stars in TNT’s “Snowpiercer.” Mackie said it’s imperative for show leaders like him and Diggs to ask questions whenever they see a lack of diversity on sets.
The “Captain America: Civil War” star also said the only way to create a more diverse film and TV industry in the future is to help people land jobs early in their career.
“So my big push with Marvel, with everybody, is hire the best person for the job,” Mackie explained. “Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men.”
Since protests began for racial equality in May, film and television have been two of the industries taken to task over treatment of Black talent.
Some have told stories about being mistreated on sets, including Nicole Beharie, who said she was blacklisted and called difficult after her character was killed off Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow.” Beharie was suffering from an autoimmune condition while on the show and requested to work fewer hours.
Former “Glee” star Samantha Marie Ware is another actress who said she received poor treatment on set and explained that Lea Michele, the star of the show, was responsible for it.