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The Observer
Black Mirror star Aldis Hodge paints a portrait of divided America

The actor has collaborated with artist Harmonia Rosales to create a series of
images of the ‘terrifying’ reality of racism in the US

Lucy Rock

Sun 21 Jan 2018 00.01 GMT
Last modified on Sun 21 Jan 2018 00.12 GMT

Actor Aldis Hodge

The Black Mirror actor Aldis Hodge has devoted his Hollywood career – which
includes roles in Hidden Figures and Straight Outta Compton – to positive
portrayals of African Americans. Now he is using the art world to promote social
justice with a series of provocative paintings.

The first two, produced in collaboration with acclaimed artist Harmonia Rosales,
were shown at the LA Art Show last week. Rosales’s reimagination of Michelangelo’s
Creation of Adam – depicting God and the first man as black women – went viral last
year when she posted it on Instagram.

Hodge and Rosales want to start a debate around how racial stereotypes are created
and why they persist. One image shows a child soldier clutching an AK-47 and a copy
of Gray’s Anatomy to illustrate how these boys are seen as a lost cause. The other
depicts a woman in a niqab cradling a baby wrapped in an American flag.

said: “A lot of people are afraid to ask. women and black people. around judgment towards the LGBTQ community. I’m black!” Hodge has experienced racism all his life. “In Hollywood you still have the moniker of this is a black film. you’re not like the regular blacks. ‘I used to think this way and I met someone who changed my perception. Photograph: Aldis Hodge and Harmonia Rosales Despite Hollywood’s increasing awareness of diversity issues. a University of Southern California study published last summer of 900 popular films from 2007 to 2016 showed that almost nothing had changed in terms of representation on screen around gender. JuVee Productions – spoke to the Guardian about “pipeline issues at the top with people of colour”. race. which “has been turned into a diminutive tool that is regressive”.” he said. Last year actors Viola Davis and Julius Tennon – who run a multimedia company.” He thinks Hollywood is slowly starting to change as a broader range of people rise up the ranks. and it seems to be promoted and celebrated in a very terrifying way as of late. LGBTQ status and disability. 31. ‘We need some diversity – throw a black guy in there. The pool of directors proved even less diverse.’ They still don’t look at these people as normal.” One of the paintings shows a child soldier holding an AK-47 and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy Facebook Twitter Pinterest One of the paintings shows a child soldier holding an AK-47 and a copy of Gray’s Anatomy Photograph: Aldis Hodge and Harmonia Rosales Rosales. who studied art and design at college and is a skilled horologist as well as a painter.’ No. I’m not. they judge somebody based on what they’ve seen on the news or what fearful story they’ve heard. you’re a different kind of black. Hodge said people should think about inclusion rather than diversity.” Another image shows a woman in a niqab cradling a baby wrapped in the American flag. said: “We’ve seen a lot of hysterics around Islamophobia. ‘Why is it that way?’ We want people to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. who plays a man trying out an experimental mind-moving invention on his wife in the Black Museum episode of Black Mirror. ‘You know what. whose fans include the actor Samuel L Jackson. or a Latin girl. “They say. . “We have worked so long in this country not to be acknowledged by our colour but by who we are as human beings. yet people are still acknowledging us through colour. “Often you’ll find somebody who says. as a child in New Jersey and in the acting world.” Hodge. a black that. They don’t understand the normalcy of walking around America and seeing all folk integrating naturally. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Another image shows a woman in a niqab cradling a baby wrapped in the American flag. this is a black this. said: “Most of these people get their information not from personal experience.’ I’ve been working in the [US] south for five or six years and I’ll get.Hodge.

Harmonia is an African woman. Rosales said: “They have someone now as a poster child for their racism. My mom had to run and escape from them one night. I was not white. New Jersey.” Hodge.” Both Hodge and Rosales.Hodge and his brother Edwin began acting as toddlers.” Hodge said. Sesame Street and the musical Show Boat on Broadway. is this what really goes on in this country?’ ” Topics Race issues The Observer Black Mirror Art news Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on Google+ Reuse this content Most viewed World Europe US Americas Asia Australia Middle East Africa Inequality Cities Global development back to top become a supporter make a contribution . regardless of Trump’s individual beliefs. yet I wasn’t black enough. they ask from the perspective of not having understood the reality. “My family comes in all different kinds of shades. who plays Noah in the slavery drama Underground. I’m a black man. I didn’t fit in anywhere. Most of his childhood was spent in Clifton. where the family was subjected to racism. “There was the KKK running around and snatching people up. who began painting together last year and have recently started dating. Rosales. feel that the election of Donald Trump exposed the reality of racism. said: “When people ask if it’s gotten worse. appearing in commercials. This is not different for us. It is the people who have not been affected or targeted who are starting to say: ‘Wow. which has just launched on Netflix UK. I wasn’t Latina enough because I didn’t speak fluent Spanish. I had racism all around. I don’t walk around without being aware of my surroundings. We’ve always dealt with police brutality. grew up in Chicago and has described herself as Afro-Cuban. 33. “I was raised with being taught how to speak to cops so I don’t lose my life at a young age.

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