I was just watching an interview with Reza Aslan, Najva Sol, Zoe Ferraris and Wajahat Ali (from goatmilk) and Reza brought up the point that the way to change Hollywood’s portrayal of Muslims and Arabs is simply to show them that it will make them more money to market Muslim-friendly movies and shows. At the end of the day, all Hollywood cares about is money. He then went on to say that his production studio has been showing various Hollywood companies how rich Arab and Muslim Americans are, and that it is in their benefit to change the way they portray these groups.
I never thought about it that way before. I had totally given up on Hollywood (and the film industry in general) ever changing their stereotypical, essentializing, caricatures of Muslims (and many other groups). But Reza’s point makes sense. It reminds me of these hugs multi-national corporations: they may originally be American, but in the end they have absolutely no loyalty to America. All they care about is money and profit. Same goes for Hollywood: if they realize they will make more money by portraying Muslims positively, they will probably start doing exactly that.
It’s not just Muslims in America that are wealthy, it is also Arabs. Now we have China, India, and other “third world” countries coming up. They are the main markets these days. Starbucks is closing down cafe after cafe in the US, and opening thousands in China. So does this shift in consumer power mean a shift in what we see in the media? What do you all think?