Sunday, January 10, 2010

Don't Play Me, Pay Me Campaign

Finally, a few disabled people are demanding that disabled talent is used by program makers, on television, film and on the stage.

They have created a campaign called Don't Play Me Pay Me

I can not agree with this idea more. My only problem is that their focus seems to be on actors. I believe it should be all inclusive and be about any kind of performer or entertainer. Disabled people, like all people are in all aspect of entertainment and find barriers everywhere. For example there are disabled singers like the late Vic Chesnutt, and wheelchair dancers like Autie Angel.

Yet when Lady Gaga required a wheelchair dancer for a performance, what did she do? Lady Gaga used an able-bodied person instead of a talented and experienced REAL wheelchair dancer. Similarly the exucutives behind the TV Show Glee selected an able bodied person to play a wheelchair performer.

Why would they do this when there are so many talented wheelchair dancers in the world? Ignorance? Prejudice? Simple lack of understanding?

With that said, here are the objectives of Don't Play Me Pay Me:

* Actively encourage and support disabled people to follow their chosen creative career path.

* Remove the barriers of prejudice that disabled actors face in finding work.

* Provide a forum for all disabled actors to encourage debate and empower them to have their voice heard and listened to.

* Encourage programme makers to feature disabled actors in all storylines to reflect real life.

* Encourage programme makers not to use non-disabled actors (even if a “name” means funding) to portray disabled characters.

* Encourage advertisers to feature disabled people in all advertising.

I will be watching and following this campaign with interest!