Lee Daniels On Actors Of Colour: “Stop Complaining & Go Out Do The Work”

Published: Friday 30th Dec 2016 by David

Lee Daniels has criticised for the creators and supporters of the #OscarsSoWhite movement in an interview with The New York Times.

Built to raise awareness for Hollywood’s brass-necked exclusion of actors of colours from its pictures, the movement has been praised for inspiring the minds behind the BAFTAs and Oscars to acknowledge the problem.

Click here to learn more.

Alas, the groundbreaking Daniels believes that the absence of nuanced characters of colour in Hollywood has little to do with the discrimination the business itself acknowledges exists.

His advice to actors?

“Stop complaining.”

The ‘Empire‘ creator told the ‘Times’:

Go out and do the work. Oscars so white! So what? Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man. Are we really in this for the awards?”

If I had thought that way — that the world was against me — I wouldn’t be here now,” he continues. “These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgment or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.

Fans of the actress Viola Davis will know that she feels differently.

Press play to catch her stance on the matter below…

Do you agree with Lee?

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  1. Belafontae’s Son December 30, 2016

    Funny. He sees the value in representation for gay characyers and trans actresses but not others? So I guess the reason we never see an openly gay man playing a superhero because gay men aren’t “doing the work.” Lee is one of those men who is only interested in what he can earn from and from what he can sleep with. Notice how badly the youngest brother in Empire is written. The character is undeveloped because Lee, despite being a black man, doesn’t care about black men unless they’re like him.

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Yo- LGBTQ characters have been the most in need of Representation and you clowns using my community to make such a hateful point makes you worse than the “slave owner”s of our past; the racist ass producers of our present and the clowns that voted in the next Hitler… Calm that homophobic s*** down and put together an actual argument of valid points when addressing these incorrect comments he made AND DO SO WITHOUT GOING AFTER THE NEXT FCKIN COMMUNITY U PIECE OF SHT HOMOPHOB/TRANSPHOB.. FCK THIS HATE POST & UR IGNORANT RANT

      • Got Monae? December 30, 2016

        Excuse me but in this case the point is valid. If GLAAD gives awards to writers who create lgbtq characters why is it a shock that ethnic minorities would want the same. Don’t confuse the gay community with the elite hollywood gays. The elite gays are selfish and only care about lining their pockets with money and attractive men. If they truly cared about diversity in the way they say they do why is Moonlight one of the only inspirational LGBT movies to come out within the last decade.

      • Got Monae? December 30, 2016

        And what makes LGBT characters more in need of representation than anyone else? You do realize that most straight roles are played by closeted gay men right? The only reason we don’t see stories about average “every day” gays is because the writers and producers from Lee’s circle don’t care about them. Classism exists with the gay community and I don’t think you want to accept it.

      • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

        You realize GLAAD is for #lgbtq right? Further solidifying Lee’s point-blank STOP BTCHN- GET OUT THERE-DO THE WORK-MAKE T HAPPEN & stop expecting for it to just happen for your a$$ a-la-HANDOUT… Till then- don’t come for those WHO DO INCLUDING #LGBTQ THAT UP UNTIL THE FKN LATE 90s didn’t even have a TV channel/network!

      • Jasmine December 30, 2016

        @Got Monae I agree 100 percent.

  2. Bey Bey Stinger December 30, 2016

    So let’s get this straight. He thinks that out of the millions of black writers and producers that exist he and a select few are the only ones working hard? I’m lost. He says there’s no need for a conversation about diversity if people work hard yet gives leading roles to LGBT Instagram stars and pats himself on the back for giving that community visibility. Beware of these old school cats people. Beware.

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Yo- LGBTQ characters have been the most in need of Representation and you clowns using my community to make such a hateful point makes you worse than the “slave owner”s of our past; the racist ass producers of our present and the clowns that voted in the next Hitler… Calm that homophobic s*** down and put together an actual argument of valid points when addressing these incorrect comments he made AND DO SO WITHOUT GOING AFTER THE NEXT FCKIN COMMUNITY U PIECE OF SHT HOMOPHOB/TRANSPHOB.. FCK THIS HATE POST & UR IGNORANT RANT

    • Casual December 30, 2016

      The point I took was that he did not spend his time looking for approval from the white establishment. Were I an actor, I was as honored to ascend the NAACP or BET stage to accept my award as I would be to ascend the Oscar stage.

    • OMG Logic!!! December 30, 2016

      That’s impossible. Mathematically speaking, there’s what, 40 million Black people in the United States? You think millions of them are screenwriters? That probably isn’t even true of Whites.

    • Jasmine December 30, 2016

      I agree.

  3. Hidden Figure December 30, 2016

    Taraji begs to differ.

    • MusicLife December 30, 2016

      Ur she won’t say anything against him because she is going to ride Empire till it gets canceled in a few years.

  4. Moonlight 2016 December 30, 2016

    So Jussie got that role because he worked harder than every other actor who auditioned? And I guess I never see Asian alpha males on screen because they’re too busy not being busy. Or hard working women like my mom and aunts on screen because the actresses who want to play them are too busy complaining? Beyonce, a woman whose entire career was built on colorism, gave a speech about why diversity is important when she collected that fashion award. That’s how you know it’s serious. Lee, I’ve heard you only give roles to men you think you can bang so maybe you’d like those lazy actors you speak of to get off their butts and make their way to your thorny casting couch. Dog.

  5. December 30, 2016

    So Amiyah works harder than the real actresses who could have had her role on Star? I can’t.

  6. Jordan December 30, 2016

    And this is why people prefer Power. He’s probably salty because Star has been panned by critics. If only he worked harder for those ratings.

  7. Love Life December 30, 2016

    Lee should just admit that he’s angry because Empire’s ratings are taking more hits than a weed head at a marijuana buffet.

  8. Got Monae? December 30, 2016

    Because Amiyah Scott was the best woman for the job in Star? I’ve been done with this old moose since I clocked how bad the writing is on Empire.

  9. Bryson FillHer December 30, 2016

    Tyler Perry and this clown are built from the same cloth and everyone sees it. Notice how you never see Shonda Rhimes associate with either of them? Homegirl is interested in TRUE diversity not the kind that they are after. I guess it’s harder to see the need for change when your eyes are fixed on the ass of the actor you’re hoping to bang down in Atlanta. ? #gayforpay #castingcouchdiaries. #counthowmanytimesindependentblackwomenintheirmoviescontractAIDS

    • Biting Truth December 30, 2016

      Homegirl is interested in TRUE pandering. Playing on peoples hypersensitive emotions to get them to watch crap. None of these shows are any good. They’re on the air to give Tumblr airheads who pretend to be “woke” something to make gifs out of.

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Yo- LGBTQ characters have been the most in need of Representation and you clowns using my community to make such a hateful point makes you worse than the “slave owner”s of our past; the racist ass producers of our present and the clowns that voted in the next Hitler… Calm that homophobic s*** down and put together an actual argument of valid points when addressing these incorrect comments he made AND DO SO WITHOUT GOING AFTER THE NEXT FCKIN COMMUNITY U PIECE OF SHT HOMOPHOB/TRANSPHOB.. FCK THIS HATE POST & UR IGNORANT RANT

  10. MusicLife December 30, 2016

    We as minority’s and blacks are not asking for awards. So stfu Lee. We are simply asking to be recognized by nominations so we can see that black and minority talent is valued and not simply over looked or used.

    This is the same damn issue with people saying all millennials want a participation award. No we all don’t. We just want a chance and a shot to show and prove ourselves as hard workers and worth sometimes.


    • OMG Logic!!! December 30, 2016

      Asking for a nomination you may not deserve (see: Will Smith) is the same thing as asking for an award.

      The Oscars only have so many slots. They’re not going to water down the merit of the award by trying to pander to everyone. It has to be earned. Even the damn nomination holds prestige because very few get one. That means some years will have very little diversity, and some years, like 2005, will be Black actors winning more than most. The only thing a Black actor can do is give an amazing performance and then have his company and team push for him to be nominated.

      • MusicLife December 30, 2016

        Well when the nominating crew is mostly 80+ white men how do you expect a 20 something black actor to get nominated? Case closed.

  11. MUSICHEAD December 30, 2016

    I get what he’s saying and to a certain extent he’s right! Just because traditional Hollywood studios won’t green light a project doesn’t mean it can’t get done. Go independent. Make your own films. Tell your own stories and make Hollywood pay attention to you. Don’t just sit on your hands until Hollywood says it’s ok now for you to participate. Tyler Perry did it and look where he is now! Not one Oscar or Golden Globe, but he is one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the business. Diversity certainly is important but ownership and power is worth even more.

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Good point. Thank you- I now understand Lee’s argument a little more and am glad it didn’t take an antiLGBTQ rant to accomplish this.

      • MUSICHEAD December 30, 2016

        No problem, thank you. A lot of the comments on here so far indicate that most people didn’t understand what he was saying.

    • That Rihanna Reign… December 30, 2016

      Yeah I got this from his comments too

  12. homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

    SOME OF THE RESPONSES TO LEE IN THIS COMMENT SECTION ARE EXTREMELT HOMOPHOBIC & TRANSPHOBIC. You jokes out there who wrote it- ARE UNGODLY AND UNCHRISTIAN. Shame on you and prayers for those around you in reality that have to constantly swallow the hate you spew out into the world

  13. Fucx Trump December 30, 2016

    Oh Sister Daniels….. Tisk tisk…. Your time will come too. Everything shouldn’t be “gay”. Everyone does not want to see “gay” everywhere. You’re being used like others. Once your light is dimmed and burns out, who will you be? Sister Daniels you are not an innovator. What you “are” doing has been done by a certain writer that has skills and several hit shows on a large network. Good try though…. ✌?

  14. Got Monae? December 30, 2016

    How can anyone, especially a gay person, agree with Flee Daniels when by his estimation only hard workers get ahead in Hollywood. If that’s true, openly gay people are lazy since we rarely see them. The sooner the gay community realises that it can’t trust the gay establishment the sooner we will see progress. What I mean is that the wealthy West Hollywood gays piggy back on their struggles to push things forward which don’t benefit you. Where are the movies about the openly gay historians, doctors and scientists? Nowhere. Thats because the gay establishment is only interested in pandering to straight society so will only champion glamorous trans women and sexually attractive men. What about my trans sister who can’t afford Laverne’s surgery? Does she not deserve to be seen on screen? Or is she too lazy?

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      “The Imitation Game”

      Boom- I just deligitamized your entire fkn homophobic argument.

  15. Think December 30, 2016

    I really want my brothers and sisters of all races in the gay community to beware of downplaying the importance of racial diversity. Right now everyone thinks strides are being made because we think we’re seeing more gay people on screen. The truth is, like in adult movies, men and women like Lee only prioritise the gays at the top of their acceptability pecking order. When you watch these shows and these movies it becomes clear that the emphasis is placed on men who are gay but don’t “act” or “look” like they’re gay. Basically, the desirable straight acting gays who by society’s standards are better than the camp and flamboyant gays. This is marginalising actors who may be more “clockable” and rewarding men who are able to “pass” in society. As a black man, I always find it so interesting that the same people who say they want to diversify media are only interested with masculine black men when they are gay or thugs and have no desire to tell stories about the underrepresented straight black men you may see everyday on your way to work and school. Open your eyes and realise that you are being used for ratings and that LGBT acceptance should extend to people who don’t tick what society says a man or woman should look or act like. If you don’t believe what I’m saying, ask yourself how many openly gay actors are allowed to play straight characters in the way straight actors are allowed to play gay characters.

    • Credits December 30, 2016

      What are you talking about? The “flamboyant” ones have been on tv for years playing the gay bestie of the female lead….

      • Fifi December 30, 2016

        Exactly. The side kick without a story of his own.

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      This post is fkn ridiculous. I APPLUAD LEE FOR FINALLY PUTTING LGBTQ CHARACTERS ON SCREEN THAT ACT JUST LIKE ME CUZ THW QUEENS AND PAJARAS WITH FEATHERS ALL OVER THE PLACE HAVE DOMINATED WHATEVER SCREENTIME LGBTQ GET! What you just said is that you want more of the stereotypical homos on screen so that the world doesn’t know how to react to a gay like me- WHO IS MASCULINE, DOESNT SWITCH HIS HIPS OR LINE HIS BROWS OR FLAIL HIS WRIST AND UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT IT! Why do you think more from our community if People of Color have turned on shows like Empire? CUZ WE’VE BEEN CONDITIONED TO BELIEVE ALL LGBTQ ACT LIKE THAT AND WE DONT! They don’t know how to respond to a gay guy that can pass as straight cuz of punks like you trying to dominate our screens! Sit your seedy ass down

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Gay actors that play straight roles;

      Matt Boemer
      Guillermo Diaz
      Ellen Page
      Sarah Gilbert
      Raven Simone

      S*** a simple Google search b4 posting such a ridiculous question wld have saved your argument

      • therealist December 30, 2016

        Im not gonna lie yo, At first I wanted to interject and debate with you, but the more I read your responses, you make a hella sense!!!!!

      • Fifi December 31, 2016

        And how many of those gay actors you mentioned A list stars and were openly gay when they started? Better run and ask Rupert Everett what happened to his career boo boo.

  16. JanStan December 30, 2016

    The problem is the black community at large keeps blaming everyone else when they don’t get nominations when they don’t even support quality black films themselves. Have u seen the top grossing black films in the previous post? Lee Daniels is right.

    • Think December 30, 2016

      Erm? That list was awesome so what do you mean? Please explain because I’m confused. Moonlight did very well as did Fences as did Kevin Hart’s movies as did all the others. If your point was to say that we don’t support ourselves you should really go back and read that list.

    • Chaka Yonce December 30, 2016

      ???? But all of those movies on that list did extremely well. I didn’t hear you blame gay white men for not supporting each other when The New Normal was cancelled did I?

      • JanStan December 30, 2016

        Yes but gay people didn’t say that straight people are treating them unfairly. K thanks.

    • Fifi December 30, 2016

      Black People don’t support black quality content? Moonlight, HTGAWM and Fences say hi.

  17. Pause December 30, 2016

    F*** the LGBTQ54321ABCDEFG@#&$^# b******* community. You all need to be represented in an asylum because liking people with the same s** organs is sick in the head. That depraved unnatural s*** dont need to be endorsed on TV.

    • Fifi December 30, 2016

      You just proved why minorities need to be represented with your hateful comment. Let’s just say that being gay is “depraved” for argument’s sake. Is it any more than depraved than movies which glamorise drugs and violence? Your problem with gayness isn’t a moral one but based on the fragility of your masculinity. Why it’s fragile? Because the media has a narrow view of what a man should act like which doesn’t take nuance and diversity within genders into account. It’s important that men only appear in a certain way to you because that’s all you’ve known.

      • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

        Thank you! ^ PAUSE is a pu$$y and more of a b**** ass fa99ot than I’ll ever b.. His masculinity is paper thin and he wishes he could pull as much pu$$sy as my gay a$$

    • homophob MUCH? December 30, 2016

      Lock me in asylum with your a$$ so I can show you how deprived I can be towards my ignorant ass simple minded haters…

  18. Casual December 30, 2016

    I’m in agreement with his message. You can succeed without kowtowing to the white establishment. Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and other producers and directors of color are doing it big.

  19. OQRAM December 30, 2016

    It’s easier complain than it is to work.

  20. THE REAL December 30, 2016

    It’s obvious to me that Daniels has written one-too-many Cinderella stories. He thinks that people of color in Hollywood should focus more of their energy on being exceptional..instead of confronting diversity head-on. This is called exceptionalism, and it’s an ideology rooted in classist respectability politics. It asks disenfranchised groups to accept that nothing about their circumstances will change so they should just try harder to join the ranks of the privileged white majority (ignoring racism) instead of calling attention to discrimination. Its the ‘build your own’ line of thinking. Except when you do (i.e. BET or Tidal) youre then called racist yourself for outright saying ‘this is for us by us’… You CANNOT win w/ these folks.

    Daniels is feeding into this problematic stance. It’s ironic that a man who has been so intentional about bringing diverse narratives and identities into the fray of television can now oversimplify a movement demanding representation for people who carry those identities in real life.

    Calling out institutions that support the entertainment industry for not being diverse is not begging for “acknowledgement from white America.” It’s holding them accountable.

  21. Cough Cough December 30, 2016

    I totally get what he’s saying. It’s not rocket science to comprehend the obvious.

  22. Dee December 30, 2016

    I agree. This applies to any industry. If you are always complaining -how can you move forward? Complaining is like placing a bondage on your own mind. Do the work. Doing the work won’t necessarily take you where you want to be but it will take you a hell of a lot farther than complaining.

  23. JanStan December 30, 2016

    Ummm. Y’all are so basic. My point in my original post was LOOK AT WHAT THE TOP GROSSING MOVIES ARE. Do u expect Kevin Hart and Madea to be in the running for Academy awards? Omg lol. Y’all illiterates are probably the same ones paying quality black films dust. K girls bye come back in the new year with reading comprehension.

  24. Caleb December 30, 2016

    Anyone who has followed this guy’s statements over the years knows very well he’s got the Clarence Thomas syndrome.

  25. B**** pleeeaaasseeeee December 31, 2016


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