Though Anthony Mackie has been “Black famous” for quite some time, he first rose to global fame as Falcon in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Since then, he’s been in seven different Marvel universe films and they all have one thing in common: lack of diversity.
Sound about White, right?
In light of recent protests, petitions and public call-outs following the death of George Floyd, the star of the upcoming Disney Plus television series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, is speaking out on Marvel’s lack of diversity behind-the-scenes in an interview for Variety‘s Actors on Actors issue with fellow actor Daveed Diggs.
“What are the ways that you find yourself interacting with the moment?” Diggs asked Mackie about Black Lives Matter. “I find a lot of my interactions are just trying to make things better in the gigs I have in front of me — how can I affect different kinds of representation? What is the thing you feel compelled to do? What is your participation in this moment?”
Mackie cited his responsibility to call into question what’s happening on the sets that he gets booked for. Though he may be a Black male lead, those around him on set often don’t look like him. “When The Falcon and the Winter Soldier comes out, I’m the lead,” Mackie said. “When Snowpiercer came out, you’re the lead. We have the power and the ability to ask those questions. It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.”
“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore,” Mackie continued. “He produced Black Panther. But then when you do Black Panther, you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe encompasses 23 released films, but only two — Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok and Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther—were directed by non-White filmmakers.
Marvel can post all the Black squares and solidarity posts they want. When it comes down to it, Mackie says that Marvel needs to implement systemic change—and that starts with hiring more diverse talent. “My big push with Marvel is hire the best person for the job,” Mackie said. “Even if it means we’re going to get the best two women, we’re going to get the best two men. Fine. I’m cool with those numbers for the next 10 years. Because it starts to build a new generation of people who can put something on their résumé to get them other jobs. If we’ve got to divvy out as a percentage, divvy it out. And that’s something as leading men that we can go in and push for.”