In a recent interview with Vulture on October 30, Jessica Alba and Gabrielle Union talked about opportunities for colored women in Hollywood, their current show, “L.A. Finest” being taken down by Spectrum, and the future of Hollywood.
Unfortunately earlier this month their series “L.A’s Finest” was canceled after two seasons as reported by Variety. The series starred Gabrielle as Syd Burnett and her partner Nancy McKenna played by Jessica Alba as a police-detective duo. The series was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television and 2.0 Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures TV and Charter Communications.
The news of cancellation comes after Fox announced in May that it had acquired the broadcasting rights to both seasons of the show. Even though the show had a connection with “Bad Boys II” it couldn’t survive due to the low rating by critics.
In the interview with Vulture, when asked about how Hollywood had given opportunities to the women of color, Union laughed a little. She said that the power to control the numbers for the show still isn’t fully neutral, even the payment for the roles are biased and the equality among the peers is still not present.
“There’s more because there are more channels, so there’s that, so I can’t say that there’s not technically more opportunity. But when you talk about who is in positions of power, who has the ability to green-light something, who has the ability to help get someone paid, who has the ability to keep something on the air or yank it off, those numbers drop all the way down. And we are under-indexed on positions of power that control this town” she said.
Jessica Alba gave her views on the question by saying that there are almost no Latinx people present in a lead role in any current film or TV shows. She said that she was the only one who had represented color in the Marvel or DC universe back in the day.
When asked about their early careers in Hollywood Union said that it was the “golden age of Black Hollywood” networks like UPN, the WB, and Fox had multiple representations of Black performers. The networks were trying to make the mark by giving Black people more opportunities as they were starting.
“When they were just beginning, they made their marks off the back of Black shows, and so there were more opportunities. But then it was like, zhoom, like the floor dropped out, and there were, ya know, one great role a year for everybody, and so if you happened to get that one role that year, or got some big opportunity, you were the one Black girl on the cover of a magazine that year. Yeah, you felt like the weight of the world, because you had to be completely perfect.” Union said.
She emphasized that how each opportunity given them to them had to be the best. Even for a show, it had to be a “runaway hit” and not only a “hit” for a movie it had to be “smash” among the other movies. They were required to overachieve across the board and were constantly under pressure.
Union sarcastically added “No one spoke out about anything, you could literally be on fire and you’ll be like nope it’s warm. I am warming my hands, I am not on fire.”
Alba laughed along with this reference and agreed to how the social standards back in the day were scrutinizing. She even said that as she was “too verbal” that proved to be a problem for her, she was considered as someone who was difficult to deal with. She even learned things the hard way.
“I had to learn the hard way when people would say, like, ‘You really shouldn’t be like this,’ and I’m like, ‘All I’m saying is shouldn’t everybody know their lines when they come to set? I’m here for 16 hours a day. This one person’s coming in for a scene — shouldn’t they kinda know their lines? Ugh.” Jessica added.