Stephen Colbert’s New Trailer Shows What To Expect From “Hidden Fences” (Video)

Amidst the excitement over Golden Globe wins from Viola Davis, Donald Glover, and Tracee Ellis Ross and projects like Atlanta, Fences, and Moonlight, some are sensing that Hollywood’s long history of overlooking African-American storytelling in film and television may be nearing its end. However, there still remains a general sense that Black artistry continues to be neglected, and one particular moment during January 9’s Golden Globes coverage brought into sharp focus the disconnect between White Hollywood and Black Hollywood. The now infamous “Hidden Fences” fiasco took on a life of its own on social media, and for good reason.

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It’s referring to the slip up of both Today show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager and actor Michael Keaton, both of whom referred to Hidden Figures as “Hidden Fences,” confusing two entirely separate projects (Hidden Figures and Fences) and morphing them into one. Hager made the mistake while interviewing Pharrell Williams about his nomination for the Hidden Figures soundtrack, while Keaton did it on stage presenting an award. Nearly immediately thereafter, social-media exploded into reaction, and what ensued is both hilarious but also thought-provoking. “Hidden Fences” is a perfect metaphor for how much work is left to be done by the industry towards being truly informed and respectful of diverse points of view in Hollywood. It has inspired 2017’s first truly brilliant collection of memes in what is perhaps the biggest social-media response to Hollywood since #OscarsSoWhite.  Millions of Instagram and Twitter users could be seen coming up with their own hybrids of Black film titles, and the conversation became so hard to ignore, even Stephen Colbert addressed it on The Late Show.



Yesterday (January 9), Colbert not only mentioned the fiasco in his monologue, but the show went as far as to create an actual trailer for the imaginary film, Hidden Fences. Comprised of scenes from Fences and Hidden Figures spliced together, it imagines a plot in which a fence is built in outer space, drawing equal amounts of inspiration from the two separate films. Fences, directed by Denzel Washington and starring him alongside Viola Davis, does indeed involve the building of a fence. And Hidden Figures tells the true, forgotten story of the Black women who made one of America’s most prolific space-exploration missions possible. Together, they create a delightfully nonsensical mashup movie, but it also includes some pointed commentary about the ludicrousness at hand.

Hidden Fences is “based on the true story of people who think all movies about Black people are the same movie,” the trailer explains sarcastically. “If movies starring Black people confuse you, then this is the film you’ve got to see.”

Which Black movie mashup would you go see in theaters?