Common is serving as executive producer of “Burning Sands,” which centers around “Hell Week” on a college campus, where a pledge must honor the frat code, or fight against the violence of underground hazing.
The movie stars Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Serayah, Nafessa Williams and others.
During an interview with the Hollywood Reporter at Sundance, Common said he believed the timing for movies like “Burning Sands,” since Hollywood is making a push to diversify the images shown on screen.
“I think we’re in a great place,” Common told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the world is already ready for it, ready to see just diversity. As human beings on the base level, we connect with each other. I think we’re seeing films that are showing [at Sundance].”
Common’s observations about diversity are correct.
This year, seven of the 20 actors nominated for an Academy Award are nonwhite. Compare that to last year (2016), where there were no actors of color represented at all.
Academy Awards President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is an African-American, announced sweeping changes to ensure diversity amongst the films nominated in the future.
“I think we’re making a statement without having to preach,” Common said of filmmakers like Pharrell Williams and Jay Z, just two of the rappers who have big films premiering at Sundance during the annual festival.
“Everything doesn’t have to be only protests…because it’s about us understanding each other. It’s about us understanding as human beings,” Common explained. “For us as viewers to get the experience we see in ‘Burning Sands,’ we get a better understanding of what it is to be a young, black man growing up trying to find himself.”
“Burning Sands,” is slated to premiere on Netflix this March. The movie stars Trevor Jackson, Alfre Woodard, Serayah, Nafessa Williams and others.