feature: matt damon “whitesplains” diversity to successful black woman filmmaker

September 17, 2015

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s HBO show, ‘Project Greenlight’ (a show that gives new filmmakers the chance to make their first feature film), is now back for its fourth season. And on this season’s premiere episode, Matt Damon graciously took it upon himself to “whitesplain” diversity to… a Black woman. Yes, a Black woman. That woman is experienced Hollywood filmmaker Effie Brown (one of a select group of producers who Damon and Affleck enlisted to help choose their finalists), who has produced seventeen feature films – including ‘Dear White People’. Jezebel reports, “As the only person of color in the group, Effie clearly understands that any attempt at diversity will be on her shoulders. She recalls growing up in the 1970s where most of the time when she saw black people in films, they were playing gangsters, criminals and prostitutes. She also explains that she is passionate about making films where marginalized people are recognized […] During a discussion about one of the films, Brown helpfully points out that she’s worried that the only black person in the entire movie is a prostitute who is slapped by her white pimp. All she’s saying is that perhaps this roomful of white people should be cognizant of who they hire to direct a character like that -AKA hire some people of color so they can treat the role with some dignity and prevent it from descending into a racist trope.” However instead of just listening, Matt Damon interrupts the filmmaker – telling her: “When we’re talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film not in the casting of the show.” WTF?! Watch the moment below.

By Alexander Aplerku, AFROPUNK Contributor.


“The white men sitting on the sofa with Effie Brown, Matt Damon being chief among them, could not stomach the proposition that their whiteness created critical blind spots that would prevent them from telling the story of a Black female prostitute with dignity and care. Yet their whiteness prevented them from treating Effie Brown and her legitimate concerns with dignity and care.” – Brittney Cooper