Doin It With Kwaisi France: Shaun Woodland
Kwaisi sits down with actors/comedians Shaun Woodland and Derek Horton to talk about Chris Brown, whether it’s worse to beat a child or a woman, and breaking into the entertainment industry as a black actor.
Shaun Woodland is an actor, known for Debt to Society (2014), Charm City Rumpus (2013) and The Point (2013). He has also appeared in Pivot Point (2013), The Firm (2012), The American Experience (2012), America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back (2011), and The Wire (2004). Shaun is an NYU graduate, and assistant football coach at the prestigious Gilman School from which he is a graduate.
Derek Horton is a Washington D.C. native and graduate of Bowie State University. In addition to acting, he is also apparently a trap star.
Actors and Actresses of Color
Shaun and Derek echoed much of what Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer said regarding the challenges all ethnic minorities find on the big screen. “There are so few roles out there and even if it is a film that could be led by a black actress, how many times is that film going to get funded? Let’s just be real.”
“But it’s not just black people. It’s Asians, it’s Hispanic people if you’re not Salma Hayek. It’s hard. It’s hard to get films funded. It’s a business thing, and you have to change the mindset of people around here.”
Spencer praises blockbuster superhero movies such as Thor, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for boasting diverse casts. We recently covered the advent of Black Panther to film. But she says television remains “light years ahead”.
“Little kids need to be able to turn on the TV and see real-world representations of themselves. It’s very important. You need that representation.” Spencer says she would like to see decisions based on “the best actor for the part”, adding: “Who cares if the lead is an Asian male? If this is the best actor for that role, why does the role have to be indicative of a person’s ethnicity?”