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

Jenna and Michael, wyd??

Feb 28, 2020, 5:50 pm*

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Samantha Grasso 

Samantha Grasso

Screengrab via ditzkoff/Twitter

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.

https://twitter.com/cthagod/status/818278453107638273

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

https://twitter.com/kamerontyler/status/818279996774961152

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

https://twitter.com/KendraJames_/status/818280163116990466

https://twitter.com/JKelly6000/status/818280007751475201

https://twitter.com/JSim07/status/818279713802108928

https://twitter.com/KendraJames_/status/818279429168332800

https://twitter.com/Brandale2221/status/818281345290014720

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

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*First Published: Jan 8, 2017, 10:22 pm