“Jumping the Broom” star Laz Alonso is excited about the resurgence in Black film and television projects that have him and his peers working more in Hollywood.
The 39-year-old actor, who is one of the honorees for the Verizon Wireless campaign “Celebrating Your Story: Powering Your Network,” sat down for an interview with AlwayAList.com to discuss the surplus of projects being offered to people of color.
“There is definitely a rebirth of Black Hollywood,” Alonso began. “I feel like we did see a slight decline once sitcoms starting going off the air. Steve Harvey, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence and so many of our Black stars were made in the television and sitcom world. There was a lull, to the point that the NAACP and Jesse Jackson had to step in and say, ‘Hold up, where are our Black faces on TV?’ We’ve seen resurgence in that. We’ve seen one-hour dramas led by an African-American beautiful woman in Kerry Washington on “Scandal” – she’s holding it down. The show that I was just recently on, “Deception,” led by Meagan Good. Kevin Hart on BET with the “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” We’re seeing a lot of shows coming back, and also in theaters.”
While the Washington, DC-bred talent is happy about the increased opportunities in Hollywood, he reminded that the only way for the projects to be successful is if the consumers show their support.
“I think the one thing that we as African Americans have to remember is that the only way we’re going to have our stories told – hence, ‘celebrating your story’ – is if we support our stories when they come out. Meaning, no bootlegging! Go to Walmart and pay the extra $5 because for every dollar you spend it’s going to help another Black movie or two or three Black movies get made and tell your story to the world. I think a lot of times we forget as artists to educate our fans and supporters. I fans really do want to support us,” he expressed.
Alonso recalled an experience with his own mom, who purchased a copy of his film “Jarhead” from her local hair salon while the movie was still in theaters.
“She was so proud! She was so happy that she was supporting her son’s movie. She had no idea that buying the bootleg was not helping the film. We have to educate and explain to our people that bootlegging is actually bad. Actually going out to the stores and going to the theaters on opening weekend or the second weekend is what will keep us all working and keeping our stories coming to life,” he shared.
The actor, who has also starred in films like “Avatar,” “Fast & Furious,” “This Christmas” and “Stomp the Yard,” said while TV and film were the dominant mediums for many years, modern technology and smart phones are providing a platform for people to create content in non-traditional ways.
“Media has changed. The online space is huge. Television doesn’t rule anymore. People spend more time on their phones and on their computers and their laptops than they do watching TV. Content is king! Thanks to technology, we have the ability to get it out there. Technology is the great equalizer if you have something good and want to get it out to the forefront,” he offered.