Gina Prince-Bythewood Talks ‘Woman King’ Influence as Reginald Hudlin Celebrated by Kamala Harris – The Hollywood Reporter
Film makers Gina Prince-Bythewood and Reginald Hudlin was celebrated Wednesday night at the eighth annual pre-Oscar dinner of Icon Mann, a media and consulting firm run by Tamara Houston which is dedicated to honoring the achievements of artists of color and providing a meeting place for powerful Black men, in particular.
At a lavish reception at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills hosted by the CBS News anchor Errol Barnettmany of the most prominent members of Hollywood’s Black community gathered to salute the veteran filmmakers behind two of the most celebrated films of 2022 – the historical drama Sony Prince-Bythewood The King’s Wife and Hudlin’s Apple TV+ documentary feature Sydney – both of whom were clearly nominated for recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the first person to toast Prince-Bythewood – who received a Maverick Award “for breaking boundaries in the cinematic and televised portrayal of African diasporic images” – was the EVP of member relationships and awards at the Academy, Shawn Finnie. Finnie noted that there is no award that adequately recognizes the cultural impact of her films, which also include the 2000s. Love & Basketball2008s The Secret Life of Bees2014 at Beyond the Lights and 2020s The Old Guard.
Then Prince-Bythewood’s husband, the filmmaker Reggie rock Bythewoodabout his wife’s persistence: “She gets an idea, she sticks to it, it doesn’t matter what or who is in the way, and she gets to the front of the line.”
He also mentioned a dinner last week with their 22-year-old son in New York, when they overheard “a white couple in their sixties” talking about movies, “and it was very clear that the man was a voting member of the Academy.” When they started talking about the BAFTAs, Bythewood said, “I was like, ‘Hey, I heard you guys talking. I was just at the BAFTAs.’ And they were like, ‘Really? You were there with a movie?’ I said, ‘Nah, actually my wife’s movie, The King’s Wife.’ It was like, blank. And I said, ‘You know, with an asterisk Viola Davis?’ They were like, ‘Oh, really? Where can we see him?’ I’m like, okay, well, ‘It’s on Netflix now.’ And note, like, they weren’t overtly racist; they were very personal, right? But there is such a disconnect. ”
He continued, “Some of you may have seen or heard about this article that Gina posted The Hollywood Reporter? Thanks to all who posted and supported it. There were some haters out there, and some were asking, ‘Why would someone like Gina, who had such a prestigious career, speak out?’ But here’s the deal: in the history of the Academy Awards, no black person has ever won the best director category… in the history of the Academy, no black woman has ever been nominated in that category… As so look at this: if you’re not happy being at the back of the line, you call them.”
Prince-Bythewood, in her acceptance speech, spoke about the mission that runs through her body of work: “From the beginning, I have struggled to tell stories about Black women and girls and – shaping the narrative of who we are and what we can be. . I want us to look up at the screen and see ourselves portrayed in a way that inspires us so we can aspire to be. And I’m proud of the Black men I’ve focused on in my work—they’re whole, loving, strong, vulnerable, brave, and real. I can write them well because I have such an amazing example of a strong Black man at home. Strong Black men celebrate strong Black women and lift them up. Reggie has always been my biggest hero. There is no limit to how far he believes I can go. We both aim for greatness, and it’s rooted in a love for our people and a shared belief that we can change the world with our work.”
She closed, “Success Black Panther he opened the door to The King’s Wifeand now success The King’s Wife we will keep that door open for more amazing stories about our history and culture.”
To present the Icon Award “for lifetime achievement in the creative industries” to Hudlin, who was seated next to Disney Entertainment co-chairman and longtime friend Dana Waldenpolitical activist and reporter Van Jones He talked about what Hudlin’s 1990s Black Panther comic books meant to Jones as a bullied kid, and to many others. Jones then surprised Hudlin with a video message from the Vice President Kamala Harrisa longtime friend of Hudlin and his wife, Chrisette Hudlinset up on a blind date in 2013 with her future husband, Doug Emhoff. Harris described Hudlin as “an extraordinary artist and one of my closest friends, my brother, Reggie … a member of my extended family,” and emphasized, “Reggie Hudlin has brought joy and inspiration to millions of people.”
Hudlin, in accepting his award, said of his career, “I’ve really focused on creating blueprints for a livelihood for Black men and Black families, because as Black men we must be the men that black women deserve. And I just think overall we need to dream bigger. You know, America is falling all around us, and that’s because there are a bunch of people who can’t handle the truth about this country and can’t handle participating in a meritocracy. So we – the people who built this country – must live up to the opportunity our forefathers made for us. We have to stop fighting the power and be the power. A lot of people don’t want to hear a story about the old days – ‘Oh, that’s porn torture, I don’t want to go back there’ – but if you don’t control the past, you won’t you don’t control the present, which means you don’t control the future. So it’s not about telling ‘torture porn’, it’s about telling stories of perseverance and brilliance and winning and kicking ass, because who doesn’t want to see that ?”
Also honored at Wednesday night’s gathering: Dr. Use of IwealaCEO of the NY Africa Center, “to transform the world’s understanding and communication of modern Africa through the arts and culture.”