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Blacks and Movies

April 23, 1989

Patrick Goldstein's "Hollywood Burning" (April 16), on the plight of blacks in Hollywood, asks whether it is racism or economics that keeps blacks out of the industry.

I don't see how it could be economics when the majority of films with unknown black casts released in recent years have been quite successful, i.e., "The Color Purple," "A Soldier's Story," "Hollywood Shuffle" and "She's Gotta Have It." (Were there any films with black casts that weren't successful?)

And when you consider "Coming to America," earning $100 million, in which the cast was mostly unknown except for Eddie Murphy, I don't know how economics can be blamed.

I believe that producer Rob Cohen hits the nail on the head when he says that Hollywood is full of white males acting out their fantasies on the screen. It probably has more to do with Hollywood cronyism than actual racism, so the inevitable answer is for blacks such as Robert Townsend, Eddie Murphy and Spike Lee to keep making successful movies utilizing blacks behind and in front of the camera.

We as blacks will have to wait until hell freezes over before the Hollywood brass gives us an opportunity for anything outside their limited view of what has box office appeal.

CAROL DANCY BAPTISTE

Los Angeles

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