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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.

who studied art and design at college and is a skilled horologist as well as a painter. They don’t understand the normalcy of walking around America and seeing all folk integrating naturally. “They say. ‘You know what. said: “A lot of people are afraid to ask. “We have worked so long in this country not to be acknowledged by our colour but by who we are as human beings. this is a black this. Hodge said people should think about inclusion rather than diversity. “In Hollywood you still have the moniker of this is a black film. said: “We’ve seen a lot of hysterics around Islamophobia. 31.’ They still don’t look at these people as normal. “Often you’ll find somebody who says. JuVee Productions – spoke to the Guardian about “pipeline issues at the top with people of colour”.” Another image shows a woman in a niqab cradling a baby wrapped in the American flag. they judge somebody based on what they’ve seen on the news or what fearful story they’ve heard.” 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. The pool of directors proved even less diverse.” Hodge. ‘I used to think this way and I met someone who changed my perception. Last year actors Viola Davis and Julius Tennon – who run a multimedia company. Photograph: Aldis Hodge and Harmonia Rosales Despite Hollywood’s increasing awareness of diversity issues. around judgment towards the LGBTQ community. whose fans include the actor Samuel L Jackson. which “has been turned into a diminutive tool that is regressive”. I’m not. who plays a man trying out an experimental mind-moving invention on his wife in the Black Museum episode of Black Mirror. . ‘We need some diversity – throw a black guy in there.” he said. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Another image shows a woman in a niqab cradling a baby wrapped in the American flag.Hodge. 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. women and black people. LGBTQ status and disability.’ No. yet people are still acknowledging us through colour. I’m black!” Hodge has experienced racism all his life. said: “Most of these people get their information not from personal experience. ‘Why is it that way?’ We want people to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” 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. you’re a different kind of black. a black that. you’re not like the regular blacks.’ I’ve been working in the [US] south for five or six years and I’ll get. or a Latin girl. race. as a child in New Jersey and in the acting world.

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

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