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Anthony Mackie Criticizes Marvel’s Diversity Problems (Even Black Panther)

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The Falcon and The Winter Soldier actor Anthony Mackie says Marvel Studios has a major diversity problem, citing Black Panther as example.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier‘s Anthony Mackie has strongly criticized Marvel Studios’ lack of diversity during an “Actors on Actors” interview with fellow actor Daveed Diggs. Mackie has had prominent role in recent MCU movies as Sam Wilson aka Falcon, and is expected to replace Chris Evans as the new Captain America.

Anthony Mackie’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe came in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Throughout the past few years, Mackie has reprised his role as Falcon in many other MCU movies, including Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, where he received from Steve Rogers the iconic vibranium shield, setting Falcon up to become the new Captain America. In April 2019, Marvel Studios announced the development of a new series titled The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, with Mackie and Sebastian Stan (reprising his role as Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier) that will explore what Sam does after receiving the shield.

During a sit down interview with fellow actor Daveed Riggs (Snowpiercer) for Variety‘s online series Actors on Actor, Mackie strongly criticized Marvel Studios for its lack of diversity behind the cameras. Mackie said that, “it really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, ever stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.” Mackie went on to illustrate his argument by citing Black Panther and the fact that it had a largely Black cast and Black crew, saying: “That’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?

Generally, hearing that Hollywood has a serious problem when it comes to diversity is nothing new. Earlier this week another MCU star, Tessa Thompson, penned and co-signed an open letter with over 300 others Black artists demanding that studios and executives divest from police centered narratives, and to open way for more anti-racist storytelling. As the head of Marvel Studios, executive producer Kevin Feige has clearly made some effort to diversify its cinematic productions, sometimes even against great pushback from some of Disney’s top executives. Currently the MCU has two big movies – Eternals and Shang-Chi and The Legends of the Ten Rings – in development with Asian directors, both set for release in 2021.

Still, Mackie isn’t wrong to call on Marvel and other studios to do more. While progress is certainly being made, ensuring that films are staffed with a diverse group of individuals requires a continued effort, not just one-off attempts. Black Panther was not only a huge box-office success but also received great acclaim from critics and fans alike, and hiring a majorly Black cast and crew was the absolute right thing to do in order to keep the story from becoming whitewashed. But confining Black Hollywood professionals exclusively to movies exclusively about Black stories, that’s not progress – it’s segregation.

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