Actor Wants More Diversity In Film
“Power” actor Omari Hardwick is using his platform for a good cause by highlighting up and coming filmmakers of color through a national short film contest.
The actor, former athlete and spoken word poet, known for now iconic character James “Ghost” St. Patrick, hosted the “Real to Reel” film series – sponsored by “Gentleman Jack Double Mellowed Tennessee Whiskey” – over the weekend at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.
“Once I heard God say that you can do something in this world, my negotiation was to give back,” Hardwick told BOSSIP. “If this was a platform, a stage, and if a big-a** microphone would be thrust in my face, then I thought I had to give back.”
The Real to Reel film series will travel to a total of seven cities, where viewers vote for their favorite film. The winner gets the chance to appear at the American Black Film Festival and $10,000 cash.
The actor, who is also promoting the fourth season of the hit Star! show said that “Power’s” success shows there is an audience for diverse experiences on television.
“The reality of us being a force in this business has been there,” he said. “It is inevitable that it will continue to be there, and it is more important than ever with the reality of the era of a post-black president. We seem to be back to a place of perhaps more hate, more racism, more sexism than we’ve ever had before. So I always thought that it was a charge on the artist to help those ‘isms that exist. Those ‘isms are monstrous.”
After screening the five short films – which were less than 10 minutes in length and ranged from sci-fi, to rom-com’s and psychological thrillers – Hardwick participated in a Q&A with Anthony Rose, creator of the featured short film, “Behold a Lady.”
“I think it’s really important that black and brown and yellow and red product from black and brown and yellow and red directors and producers make it to not only the eyes of execs but to films festivals alike,” Hardwick said. “And to a place where young people come up and go, ‘why can’t the lead actor look like me?’ As opposed to us learning our beauty in a backward way.”