Yesterday it was announced that James Franco will direct the film adaptation of the viral Zola story. The film will be based off a Rolling Stone interview released in November of last year wherein King admits to dramatizing certain parts.

Aziah King’s rise to national prominence was brought about by an epic drama she told over an 148-tweet Twitter thread. After tweeting and then deleting her story, Black Twitter was in a frenzy for hours. Trending worldwide, King received positive attention from many.

King’s absence from the press release has many questioning how involved she will be in the production of the film.

For the second year in a row, the Academy has been slammed for not including people of color in Oscar nominations. Despite the overwhelming success of filmmakers and actors of color#OscarsSoWhite reemerged this year and has been a point of contention for many in Hollywood. Some are boycotting the Oscars completely while others take offense at the national critique of the most prestigious institution in Hollywood.

But the problems of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood are not solely to blame on the Academy. Actors of color find it challenging to find roles in general. And many of the opportunities they find are characters reinforcing old stereotypes with mostly white men in producing and directing positions.

King’s tale brought about a discussion for the necessity of space in Hollywood for black writers and directors.

This story was a major contribution of Black Twitter in 2015. From #AskRachel to #ChaversNextArticle, black people on the Internet create and share a space for us to detox and stay woke. Because the Internet is open, everyone has a glimpse into this uniquely black space. But problems ensue when this goes from sideline watching to turning over a profit.

But this is more than monetization, it’s colonization. Was there no black film director free to contribute this project? Eliminating the space for black directors and producers to tell a story that came from a black space perpetuates a culture that steals from black people while making money off our backs.

For over 400 years, black people have been exploited. From Elvis Presley to Miley Cyrus, white people enjoy black culture giving little-to-no regard of the civil and human rights issues we face. They want our culture but they don’t want our problems.

Black Twitter is already predicting how the casting for the film will look.


UPDATE: BuzzFeed News reported that Nichelle Watkins, Aziah’s manager and mom, confirmed that her daughter will be involved “100%.”

What do you think about Franco directing the Zola Story? Sound off in the comments below!