Hollywood doesn’t like short men. If you don’t believe me, look up Tom Cruise and boxes. If an actor is popular, they’ll do whatever it takes to make sure that the actor looks the same height as the other men. God forbid people ever learn that there are men shorter than 5′ 10″.
In Black media, it is normally communicated via jokes. The character bears the brunt of a barrage of short jokes or he is a comedian. It’s almost as if we can’t have a short male character without having one “little man” joke in there somewhere. Or at least one woman turning him down, because who could possibly want a short man?
I propose we have a movie with a short Black man in it and (wait for it), and we don’t make his character about his height. We don’t even mention it, I know it sounds crazy, but I think we can do it. And if we do reference it make it just a regular thing. Not a big aha, he is so SHORT, but we play it as being normal. Because it is.
We make him a confident and serious character. In fact, how about we already have in a relationship from jump. With a beautiful woman, and he has the ideal marriage. His friends’ joke that he doesn’t get dating because he’s been married so long. But as our other leads date, he gives good honest dating advice. As we get to see the world through our character’s eyes.
We make this man the lead in a fantasy movie. And we treat it just like a regular fantasy epic. Maybe a villain might laugh once before it’s defeated. But he ends up saving the world.
We make him the handsome romantic lead. He is working at a Tech conglomerate (he’s rich), and he’s a rising star in the company. We’ll do the stereotypical K-Drama thing where he meets our lead woman and they hate each other. But as they keep meeting through happenstance circumstances they slowly fall in love. We could even do the stereotypical thing of him being a jerk with a backstory but grows over time.
To be fair, I just want regular stories with Black short men who aren’t comedians. Because it’s almost as if we’ve set a standard if you are a short man, you are only worthy of being on screen if you’re funny.
Everyone deserves to see themselves on screen.