Jenna Bush and Michael Keaton’s ‘Hidden Fences’ flub reaffirms Hollywood’s problems

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Just when Hollywood is making gains to take three steps forward, Jenna Bush Hager seems to have taken a slight hop, skip, and a jump back to square one.

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.

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.

Within hours the hashtag #HiddenFences began trending on Twitter, with respondents critiquing how the prominently white entertainment industry interprets black films and art.

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

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

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.