I often have to play a role to get what I want in my life. At the same time, I can't do that without also nourishing who I really am and being aware of my true self and the ways in which I'm not bound by my race or sexual orientation or class or country or whatever.

Justin Simien

Justin Simien

Profession: Film Director
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

Hollywood is a world where the only thing that gets green-lit is something that made money the last year.

It's called 'Dear White People,' but really, it's about these black characters and how they are involved or not involved in a racial scandal in ways that might surprise them and others, right?

It is a fine line between making fun of the right thing and making fun of the wrong thing. And the language oftentimes is the same.

Everybody else was quoting 2Pac, and I was running around with Green Day in my Walkman. Racially speaking, I wasn't cool or appropriate for any group.

I talk about being a 'what' to people. Like, being gay in mainstream society is a different kind of 'what' than being black. They don't always jive. It's confusing and leads to these really awkward personal stories that have just been in me for awhile.

The mark of a really great satire is its ability to seem prophetic, and I think that the television culture that film predicted really came true in the age of reality television and is a testament to how great it really is.

Balance, I think, and self-care is something I want people to really take to heart.

I think we are aware that post-racialism isn't real, right? I mean, I hope so. I kind of joke that we're post-post-racial.

There is an obsession with black tragedy. If you see a black movie, it's typically historical, and it tends to deal with our pain. And listen, there have been some excellent films made in that vein, and there are some painful parts of black history that should be explored, but it is kind of weird that only those films bubble up to the surface.

I never quite lived up to the image of the black man as I saw it growing up. I was never listening to the right music at the right time or wearing the right clothes at the right time. I was still listening to Michael Jackson, and everyone had sort of moved on to gangster rap. Alanis Morissette when everyone else was listening to En Vogue.

I think unless we have an honest conversation about race and identity in this country, we're never going to get anywhere.

Basically, the system works to my disadvantage for no other reason than that I am a person of color, and I am telling stories about people of color.

It is frustrating having to walk through America having to bob and weave people's impressions of me because they see a tall black guy walking down the street. That is frustrating.

I want the Latino 'Do the Right Thing' to happen. I want filmmakers whose voices are not represented to get a shot.