During the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet, the NBC News correspondent meant to ask Pharrell Williams about his best original score nomination for Hidden Figures, a film about three black women behind NASA‘s space race. Instead, Hager asked Williams about his nomination for “Hidden Fences,” a film that doesn’t actually exist.
"you're nominated for Hidden Fences" pic.twitter.com/7My6dtEkbG
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 9, 2017
What does exist, however, is Fences, a movie about a black sanitation worker and his missed opportunity of becoming a professional baseball player. It appeared that Hager had little to no idea that, no, not all movies about black people and their stories are the same.
Unfortunately, Michael Keaton followed Hager’s suit later that night, announcing Octavia Spencer’s best supporting actress nomination for “Hidden Fences,” not Hidden Figures.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 9, 2017
Within hours the hashtag #HiddenFences began trending on Twitter, with respondents critiquing how the prominently white entertainment industry interprets black films and art.
You know who stars in #HiddenFences… Garcelle Ashanti Brandy Sanaa Bring It On Union 😑
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) January 9, 2017
— Dwayne David Paul (@DwayneDavidPaul) January 9, 2017
— NotARaja (@NotARaja) January 9, 2017
Along with critique came a mashup of black television and movie titles and actors, with Twitter striking back at the assumption that Hidden Figures and Fences, and other black films for that matter, can’t simultaneously exist without being one in the same—an assumption that we don’t apply to movies featuring prominently white actors, even ones with extremely similar plots such as No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits.
Boys Waiting to Exhale in the Hood #hiddenfences
— Ok then (@bickskaty) January 9, 2017
#HiddenFences… is that the one starring Viola Spencer and Janelle Moonlight, Jenna?
— Brian Herrera (@stinkylulu) January 9, 2017
The Color Purple Rain. #HiddenFences
— The Root (@TheRoot) January 9, 2017
1. Diary of How Stella Got Soul Food Straight Outta Big Mama's House 🙄#hiddenfences
— Erica Ja-Kī (@EricaJaKai) January 9, 2017
For Colored Girls Who Set It Off While Waiting To Exhale #HiddenFences
— chasityscooper (@chasityscooper) January 9, 2017
— Tam (@Sw33tTamBam) January 9, 2017
A Thin Line Between Love & Basketball #HiddenFences
— Neal Carter (@nealcarter) January 9, 2017
Good job, Golden Globes, for reminding us why we still need more black actors and stories from people of color in Hollywood.
H/T the New York Times