February 8th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
Hate it or love it, Octavia Spencer's film "The Help" has at the very least sparked healthy amounts of dialogue about race and diversity in Hollywood.
Spencer, who portrays a maid living in the segregated South in the '60s-era movie, tells CNN that in order to see a greater amount of diversity in cinema, we as moviegoers need to buy tickets to films that reflect such casting.
"I think Hollywood basically gives people what they think people want," the best supporting actress Oscar nominee said.
"And what they think the people want is what people pay money to see. We can’t really blame it all on Hollywood when the majority of the movies that are getting the big dollars are the ones that are blockbuster films," she continued. "So if we want more films with diversity like 'A Better Life,' like 'The Help,' then we have to support those films. We just have to! We have to go support 'Red Tails,' we have to support 'Pariah.'"
Spencer's also hopeful that her successful turn in "The Help" will open doors for more actors of color.
"I just hope to keep being on screen, because the more they see me, the more they will start asking for people like me," she said. "They will, hopefully, continue to employ young women like me. Or older. So I just think being visible helps our cause."
And, by the way, she notes - "actors of color" doesn't solely refer to African Americans.
Her visibility not only "gives more women a shot," but it does the same for actors of all races, she says. "I think people mistakenly think when we say 'of color' that we mean only black. 'Of color' is Latina, 'of color' is Asian, 'of color' is Indian/Native American. We live in a very multifaceted, multicultural world, and that needs to be represented in our media as well."
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