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My biggest lesson from #SelfMadeNetflix, the series "inspired by" my @MadamCJWalker bio? Historians & biographers must be in the writers' room from jump. In this time of racial reckoning we need their knowledge, credibility & authenticity #ChangeHollywood
To keep the op-ed to 1100 words, I had to leave out a lot. Here are some of the sections: I wrote On Her Own Ground as a corrective to the erasure, distortion and out right lies about Black people that were in the history books and movies of my youth.
The group that met on Alex Haley's farm included Roots casting director @cannonreuben and producers Stan Margulies and Mark Wolper. I invited two historians: Langston Hughes biographer Arnold Rampersad & Carl Van Vechten biographer Bruce Kellner
Another section cut for space: "The team in the writers room shapes the script. But studio executives, who are footing the bill, have ultimate say. While everyone wants both commercial success and critical acclaim, commercial considerations usually win."
If I had been in the writers' room: I would have developed Walker’s friendship with anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells and put more emphasis on the supportive relationships with the women who mentored her and those whom she employed and empowered.
If I'd been in the writers' room: Rather than leaving the impression that Booker T. Washington was Walker’s adversary, I would have expanded the real life arc of a relationship that got off to a rocky start, but evolved into mutual respect with Washington as a guest in her home.
Some of the people I mention in the op-ed: @halleberry @tarajiphenson @CynthiaEriVo @Isabelwilkerson @leedanielsent @oprah @nhannahjones @ava @JordanPeele @LenaWaithe @BarryJenkins @Lin_Manuel @tomhanks StevenSpielberg TommyKail AngelaBassett SpikeLee JennyLumet & Suzan-LoriParks
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