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Reginald Hudlin on putting on the 'blackest of all Oscars' and 'Black Movie Soundtrack II'

Hollywood Bowl concert in August 2013.
Hollywood Bowl concert in August 2013.
Photography by Lovinkat via Flickr Creative Commons

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Tonight at the Hollywood Bowl, Gladys Knight, Common, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, and members of Earth Wind and Fire will take the stage.

It's the Black Movie Soundtrack II concert, hosted by comedian Craig Robinson. The show is a sequel to a concert that happened two years ago, celebrating the best songs from a variety of films. 

The concert is the brain child of producer/director Reginald Hudlin, who also produced this year's Oscars.

After the success of 'The Black Movie Soundtrack' concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2014, Grammy-winner Marcus Miller and producer/director Reginald Hudlin are back today with 'The Black Movie Soundtrack II.
After the success of 'The Black Movie Soundtrack' concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2014, Grammy-winner Marcus Miller and producer/director Reginald Hudlin are back today with 'The Black Movie Soundtrack II."
Ingrid Hertfelder/Hollywood Bowl

Hudlin recently took some time out of rehearsals to chat with Take Two's Alex Cohen about the show.

Interview highlights:

On paring down his wish list of songs

"Once the show became a real thing I sat down and made a list of songs that we should do. And I didn't do any research, I just said 'Well, what's the obvious-- the songs that if you don't do them, it's just ridiculous. It would be an embarrassment if you didn't do these songs.' So that list, without any research, was 120 songs. And I said 'Well how many songs can we do?' They said 'Like 12.' And I said 'That's impossible!' They said 'Calm down, Reggie. If the whole thing works, then we'll do it again.'"

On producing this year's Oscars amid the #OscarsSoWhite controversy

"Well the irony is, because of 'Oscars So White,' we were able to make the blackest of all Oscars. So we had more black people in front and behind the camera than at any Oscars show in history. You know, from being a camera operator, to choreographers, to myself as a producer, to of course Chris Rock as a host. And, you know, I've got a long working relationship with Chris, and we always kind of talked philosophically about what should happen. Not so much jokes. Jokes-- he's the master of. It's really more 'What do we want to say?'

And once the nominations came out, we were like 'Hm, that's unfortunate.' But how is this different from pretty much every other year in our lives? It's not like 'Oh! Unlike those other years where there were so many black nominees!' So we said, well this is an opportunity for us to talk about it in an extraordinarily entertaining way... And I talked with the Academy and ABC and I said in light of the circumstances, the best thing we can do is let Chris do whatever he wants, which is what we did."

On whether changes are happening in Hollywood when it comes to getting more people of color working behind the camera

"There's always been extraordinary people working in every department-- whether it's casting, or sound, or camera. And the question is, what are the quality of opportunities you're being given? And what's been fantastic in I would say the last three years is that all of a sudden there's a bunch of core realizations that have hit Hollywood. [One] is that a movie with a multiethnic cast makes more money than a film with an all white cast. So you go well this is the new reality, so everyone needs to embrace it. And studios are starting to embrace it. And because people want multiethnic casts, suddenly having a director of color to maximize the value of those actors becomes a more important thing as well. And the fact that campaigns like 'Oscars So White' have made decision-makers more conscious of the idea-- let's make an extra effort to reach out to women, to people of color, and make sure they have the same opportunities as white men."

'The Black Movie Soundtrack II" concert is tonight, August 31st at The Hollywood Bowl.