Lily Gladstone Challenges Yellowstone's' Representation of the American West

Lily Gladstone Challenges Yellowstone’s’ Representation of the American West

Actress Lily Gladstone criticizes ‘Yellowstone’ for its portrayal of the American West while discussing Hollywood’s broader representation of Native American narratives.

Hollywood’s Love Affair with the West

The American West has always had a dual existence in the collective imagination of America: one steeped in history and the other a product of Hollywood myth-making. 

This fascination has led filmmakers to return to its vast landscapes and intricate social fabric consistently.

Sheridan’s Empire and Controversies

Renowned filmmaker Taylor Sheridan’s magnum opus, “Yellowstone,” stands out prominently in the landscape of Western soap operas. 

The Kevin Costner-fronted show has etched its mark on the television industry, with the “Taylorverse” forming the core of Paramount+. 

Although “Yellowstone” is set to conclude after its fifth season due to contract issues, its legacy is here to stay. 

However, critics often label Sheridan’s works as simplistic “red state shows, ” questioning whether they adequately address American history’s nuances.

Scorsese’s Take on Westerns

Offering a contrasting view, Martin Scorsese’s much-anticipated “Killers of the Flower Moon” delves into the true tale of the orchestrated killings of affluent Native Americans in Oklahoma during the early 20th century. 

Set against the backdrop of events like the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, Scorsese attempts to shed light on the dark events that defined the economic realities of that era.

Gladstone’s Perspective on the Genre

The spotlight, however, recently turned towards “Killers of the Flower Moon” star Lily Gladstone. 

Rejecting the oversimplified labels, Gladstone believes that it is a misrepresentation of brand movies focusing on Native American stories as ‘Westerns.’ 

“Many people want to call this ‘Martin Scorsese’s Western,'” Gladstone mentioned in an Empire magazine chat. 

“With Natives and Westerns, we are dehumanized instead of humans telling a story.”

Gladstone’s Critique of ‘Yellowstone’

Her recent conversation with Vulture further fueled the debate. Distinguishing Scorsese’s narrative and Sheridan’s “Yellowstone,” Gladstone did not mince her words. 

Describing the latter as “Delusional! Deplorable!” she highlighted the dearth of nuanced roles for Native Americans.

 She candidly shared her audition experience for “Yellowstone,” stating, “No offense to the Native talent in that. I auditioned several times. That is what we had.”

In a world where representation matters more than ever, voices like Gladstone’s remind us of the importance of nuanced, authentic storytelling. 

As Hollywood continues to reimagine the West, one hopes it takes a cue from these discussions, ensuring more holistic and accurate portrayals in the future.

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