A new episode of FOX’s digital series, Making History in Hollywood, has been released and Brian Michael Smith from 9-1-1: Lone Star talks being a Black actor in Hollywood and why representation matters. The episode is available now on FOX’s Instagram and YouTube, which can be watched below!
Smith mentioned that mass communication had always been used as a tool to shape attitudes of people around the country, particularly people of color. “For a long time, the studios were not interested in telling authentic Black stories because there was a belief white audiences, or the audiences that can pay and the audiences that matter, are not going to want to see a story about a Black person.” Smith also said they are humans like everyone else and they have multi-dimensional stories of their own.
Smith goes on to talk about Black people wanting to see themselves and that when he thinks of the future generations, he thinks of himself and how long it took for him to believe that he would be doing what he’s doing. He also talked about being a Black trans man and how that representation on television and in movies has evolved over time, getting more authentic representation because of people like Laverne Cox and Candis Cayne.
Smith ends with wanting tell stories that are specific to his experience as well as wanting to show how related they are as humans. It lights Smith up when someone comes up to him and tells him a character he’s played resonated with them or connected with them. “I don’t think there’s a greater feeling. It makes all of the struggles that I went through worthwhile.”
FOX’s Maxing History in Hollywood focuses on key events, shows, and historical moments that FOX talent has had a connection with, from their own education, experience, and the lives of those around them, tying the struggles and triumphs of Black people throughout history with their own. Besides Smith, interviews include The Resident‘s Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Prodigal Son‘s Frank Harts and Aurora Perrineau.
Read our Pride Month Spotlight article on Smith from last year here. Catch Smith as firefighter Paul Strickland in 9-1-1: Lone Star, returning Monday, April 19 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on FOX, following 9-1-1! Catch up on the first season and first eight episodes of season 2 now on Hulu.