Halle Berry. J-Lo. Vanessa Williams. Gabrielle Union. These are just a handful of the many famous actresses of color who kick butt on-screen. We all know these women don't perform all of their own stunts, they cannot for safety reasons. So who does their stunts?
April Weedon, one of the most active Black stuntwomen in Hollywood. Born and raised in South Los Angeles, she's been a stuntwoman since 1995. In a recent interview, April speaks about her early influences (being an extra in The Presidio), her mentors in the stunt work business (ex-husband William Washington, Shane Anderson), how she got her start in the business, and how she balances being an in-demand stuntwoman and a single-mother. Her young daughter is developing her own career as a stuntwoman, appearing on the TV show Trauma.
But stuntwork is often over-looked and under-appreciated by Hollywood, moreso when it comes to stuntworkers of color. The Black Stuntmen's Association (BSA) was founded in 1967 to work to earn Black stuntworkers a place alongside White stuntworkers.
Finally, in February 2012 at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, the NAACP honored the founders of the Black Stuntmen’s Association with the prestigious President’s Award, presented by legendary actors Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.
At the ceremony, April praised the BSA: "They sacrificed so much and fought a great fight for us," Weeden said, "going into the studios and to producers and demanding justice so … performers of color could do stunts in the entertainment industry."
April Weedon's success is proof that the BSA's efforts were not in vain.
[Source: The South Los Angeles Report]