Ryan Coogler made a comment about the difficulty he had locating Black women to perform the stunts required for Black Panther. His trouble finding stuntwomen wasn’t because of an overwhelming amount of people to choose from. He couldn’t find many simply because there aren’t many. It‘s a very interesting career choice that possibly has low numbers of Black men and woman performing those jobs because of how niche and unaware people are of the behind the scene position.
It is a Hollywood well kept secret that white stuntmen and women often partcipate in blackface or “paintdown” to get some of the scenes for movies. The more information diverse people have about these jobs positions the less Hollywood should rely on white folks in blackface to get a job done. I mean if Coogler found Black stunt people so can the rest of Hollywood.
Sadiqua Byum is one of the chosen few to work on Black Panther as a stuntwoman. The 25 year old former gymnst has already worked on American Horror Story and Rampage. She has been acknowledged as the youngest and most successful Black stuntwoman. She follows the path that was paved from her by those that came before her such as Jadie David.
David is known as the first African-American woman to make a living in Hollywood as a stunt performer. David was a key figure in the Black Stuntmen’s Association, which was formed in 1967, and co-founder of the Coalition of Black Stuntmen and Women in 1973. Members of the group filed complaints against the major studios with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, exposing Hollywood’s discrimination against stunt performers of color.
Today the industry still has far to go but the steps toward change are being taken. That is what matters most.