Real Life #Scandal Only Works for White Celebs

Columbus-Short-2Britney Spears, Robert Downey Jr., Charlie Sheen, Gary Busey … see the pattern there? All of those Hollywood stars had precipitous falls from grace. And then they had comebacks that netted them millions. One other important fact … they are all white.

Now think about this list: Isaiah Washington, Martin Lawrence, Wesley Snipes, Dave Chappelle … yeah, you get the picture. I’m still waiting for those comebacks (and those Big Momma’s House movies and Expendables 3 don’t count). The main difference from the first list? Well, race of course.

Is Columbus Short the next to fall prey to this trend?

The “This Christmas,” “Stomp the Yard,” and “Armored” leading man is having a tough time keeping his personal life as pristine as his character Harrison’s suits on the hit TV show Scandal. News broke this week that Short’s wife has filed for divorce for the third time. Along with this admission, there are allegations of him holding her at knife-point and Short threatening a murder-suicide. Frankly, it’s not a good look.

Columbus Short is refuting the allegations and he joined Roland Martin on News One Now to discuss the situation.

He laughed off the allegations and plugged his new single “Gave Ya”, but the trend is real. And his subsequent interview with the Tom Joyner Morning Show seems to shed light on the effect that recent events are having on him. This bad coverage of his personal life is like the first set of dominoes falling. And I’m afraid to see how deep this downturn will go.

At some point, all of these stars were on top of the world. They were huge names and money was being thrown at them. But then the weight of celebrity crushed their sanity and they spiraled into the psychosis of attacking vehicles with umbrellas, evading taxes in Africa, taking every drug known to man, and jogging through the Los Angeles streets with 10 layers of clothes on. But for some reason, the white celebrities have managed to have the staying power to maintain highly lucrative careers, while the black celebrities fade into obscurity as challenging Trivial Pursuit answers.

Now, I fully believe that race has been and will continue to be used as a shield in times when it really isn’t a factor. However, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore cases where race is obviously at play. And in Hollywood, I think it’s clear that talent is not a major factor here.

Blacks just have it harder. We know that. And knowing that, we really need to be a more supportive community. Oftentimes, we are even quicker to discard a black celebrity for exhibiting erratic behavior. Don’t want blackness associated with that, right?

But we know that one crazy act does not a crazy person make. We know that blacks in Hollywood are grinding harder than most everyday to make a living. So shouldn’t we cut them a modicum of slack? Could it possibly be an indication of the pure stress and hell they have to put up with just to get a break in the Industry?

Black success in Hollywood is few and far in between. The last Oscars ceremony is further evidence that the Biz has a clear race problem. There seems to be a formula developing (re: Tyler Perry and Oprah). But, who knows how that will pan out.

When it’s all said and done, Columbus Short needs to take quick inventory of his life and make some big changes if he wants to survive the Hollywood hurricane. Whether the allegations are true or not, the situation alone in not a good look. Clearly, he has some personal issues if the allegations are true. And if he doesn’t change something soon, that Scandal money is going to disappear real quick (judging by that ridiculous finale, that time may have already come).

Will Shonda Rhimes keep him on? I sure hope so. But, it’s hard out there in Hollywood for damaged goods especially when they come in chocolate.

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Daren W. Jackson

Daren is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. He's a writer, music connoisseur, and comic book geek who spends his free time working on his novel and other short stories.