It’s probably safe to say that Chris Rock has a lot on his mind as he gears up to host the Oscars later this month amid the issue of diversity being the talk of Hollywood.
With that, the 51-year-old funnyman touched on a very relevant situation as he graces the cover of Essence’s annual Hollywood March issue for the first time ever. Chatting with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson back in December, 2015 before #OscarsSoWhite dominated social media for the second straight Oscar season, Rock addressed the struggle of black actresses who face a continuing uphill battle to get proper recognition and respect in Tinseltown.
“I’ve never done a movie, any movie, the silliest movie, where someone, some studio person hasn’t gone, ‘Does the girl have to be Black?’ It happens every time,” the entertainer says. “Everybody’s talking about Jennifer Lawrence. Talk to Gabrielle Union. If you want to hear stories, talk to Nia Long. Talk to Kerry Washington. They would love to get to Jennifer Lawrence’s place, or just be treated with the same amount of respect.”
Acknowledging his own efforts to shine a light on black actresses, Rock referenced a time where he had to fight with a certain TV network to get Tichina Arnold officially on board as part of the cast of his hit show “Everybody Hates Chris,” a show he created and executive produced.
“I think everything I’ve ever done has had a significant role for a Black or brown woman. I refuse not to,” Rock says. “I’ve never gone into battle without a Black woman, you know, a movie battle. With Tichina Arnold in ‘Everybody Hates Chris,’ I had to fight for Tichina. I’m not even going to tell you who the network wanted. She’s literally as good as Tina Fey or Julia Louis-Dreyfus or any of these chicks. They’re like, ‘Tichina who’?”
In addition to black women in Hollywood, Rock addressed diversity in Hollywood as well as his upcoming Oscars hosting gig on Feb. 28.
“I’m going to do my best,” the comedian shared. “It could go horribly wrong. Don’t ever think that it can’t. That’s when it goes wrong—when you don’t think there’s any chance of it going wrong. If you know it won’t, it probably won’t.”
The March issue of Essence, which features Rock on the cover, will hit newsstands on Feb. 12.
(Photo Source: Essence Magazine Instagram)