Celebrities, Diversity, and Fans – SVCC

The best part of Silicon Valley Comic Con was watching fans getting a chance to interact with some of their favorite actors during spotlight sessions. Jeremy Lee Renner caught a fan off guard when she told him it was her birthday and he ran offstage to give her a hug. Fans often try to ask for hugs or autographs during these types of sessions but actors are usually weary of obliging since the requests will most likely keep pouring in. However, this fan didn’t ask and he did it by his own accord. It was a wonderful spontaneous moment that truly brought about the message of what Comic Cons are suppose to be about, the fans. He talked about his acting methods and how he started out as a musician before getting into acting. He often creates a playlist for each role that he has to get into the characters headspace. A fan asked him about his work with Gabrielle Union and if he’d like to work with her again and he said he definitely would, “I don’t think there’s anybody I wouldn’t want to work with again and I’ve come across some amazing talented people over the years”.

Photo by: Ana Pines

Photo by: Ana Pines

Nathan Fillion provided the following advice to an aspiring actor, “Be kind to people on the way up because they’re the same people you’ll meet on the way back down”. When asked who he’d like to work with dead or alive he said Elvis. He acknowledged that it might come as a surprise to some but reminded the audience that even though the movies Elvis starred in were considered terrible by many, it doesn’t mean the actor is bad or not trying. It was a great point to make since there are many elements to a film and sometimes people forget that. On a side note he also said, Kevin Bacon.

Photo by: Ana Pines

Photo by: Ana Pines

Nichelle Nichols spoke about her important work with NASA in recruiting people of color and women. Unfortunately, Rod Rodenberry couldn’t resist diminishing her accomplishments by re-directing the questions to himself, “Would you have recruited me”? he kept asking after a detailed recollection of how there were zero, zilch, zip, not one person of color or woman at NASA at that time. The recruiters at NASA gave her excuses like, there’s no one qualified, no one interested and they just didn’t know where to look. She herself was caught off guard when she didn’t want to take the job because she was “just a fictional character on television”. Eventually, she gave in to their requests to be the main recruiter for diversifying the program and became part of one of the most important recruitment processes at NASA. Some of her recruits included Guion Bluford (the first African-American astronaut), Sally Ride (the first female American astronaut), Judith Resnik (one of the original set of female astronauts, who perished during the launch of the Challenger on January 28, 1986), and Ronald McNair (the second African-American astronaut, and another victim of the Challenger accident). (source: space.com)

After all this Roddenberry, a white man born with more than average privilege as the son of Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek asked, “Would you have recruited me?”. It goes to show that diversity in panel leads are just as important as the guests that are invited. She should’ve never been disrespected like that and proves the point that it doesn’t matter whom one is related to or what he donates to, some people will just never get it. He even grew up around her although, maybe that’s why he was so comfortable asking such a stupid question. Who knows? Money can never replace experience, intelligence and common sense. It was a shame to have to witness that after the inspiring story she told. 

Photo by: Ana Pines

Photo by: Ana Pines

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