Add Meryl Streep to the list of White Hollywood heavyweights who miss the point of #OscarsSoWhite.
Three-time Oscar winner Streep is currently in Berlin, Germany, where she heads the jury for the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival. The jury includes three other women, but no people of color. The Associated Press reported reports that during the festival’s opening press conference yesterday (February 11), an Egyptian journalist asked her about whether or not she understood films from the Arab World and North Africa. Streep responded by saying that despite her relative lack of awareness, "I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures." According to the AP, she then said the following:
"There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we’re all from Africa originally," she said.
"You know, we’re all," she added, pausing, "Berliners, we’re all Africans, really."
USA Today has video of her comments.
"We’re all Africans" lit a powderkeg on social media. Here are the five best tweets to come out of that explosion:
"We’re all Africans really," Meryl Streep says. pic.twitter.com/YJ4ZEDZYgP
— puchi, msw. (@machucartier) February 11, 2016
Meryl Streep as Harriet Tubman will be released sooner than we think ’cause "We’re all Africans, really." pic.twitter.com/nCax3EZUNk
— 777-9311 (@MiQL) February 11, 2016
I am going to let Miranda Priestly sum up how I feel about Meryl Streep right now: pic.twitter.com/bEshVBjkHu
— Sara Yasin (@missyasin) February 11, 2016
Meryl Streep said "We’re all Africans," in response to being on an all-white film jury. European colonizers & enslavers would have disagreed
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) February 11, 2016
Meryl Streep saying "this jury is evidence that at least women are included" is so problematic. It’s fundamentally saying "WoC aren’t women"
— Carimah Townes (@CarimahWheat) February 11, 2016
Streep starred in the 1985 film "Out of Africa," which largely erased Africans from its narrative. She sparked controversy last year over a photo campaign for her film "Suffragette," in which she wore a T-shirt reading, "I’d rather be a rebel than a slave."