‘Beyond the Lights’ Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Wants to See People of Color in Every Genre

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Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) is back with her third feature film, Beyond the Lights, which is a love story set against the backdrop of hip hop superstardom.

The writer/director talks candidly to Flavorwire about how she fits into the film industry as a black female director. “People ask me if I feel discriminated against as a black female director, and I actually don’t — because I’m offered movies all the time to direct. What’s discriminated against are my choices: I like to direct what I’ve written, and what I like to focus on are people of color,” she says. “So that is absolutely the tougher sell, and the films that you have to fight much harder for, because the people making decisions are going to green-light films that they identify with and that make sense to them, and there are no people of color running studios.”

Prince-Bythewood would also like to abolish the term “black film” as a genre. “That puts every film with people of color in the same box — and Baggage Claim is not the same as 12 Years a Slave, they’re two totally different films,” she explains. “This film is a love story. So I want people to see the love story. But Hollywood calls them ‘urban films’ or ‘black films,’ and it’s really my goal to abolish that and just have people of color in every genre, and tell universal stories that everyone can identify with.”

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