2012 President’s Awards – The Black Stuntmen’s Association
The Black Stuntmen’s Association (BSA) was also founded for the sole mission to train, protect, preserve, and honor the memory of African American Stuntmen and Minority pioneers of the motion picture and television industry.
During the Hollywood era of the 60′s, African American’s were not allowed to act as stunt doubles in the film industry. As black actors broke into the industry, white stuntmen were painted black (known as paint-down) instead of seeking to employ black stuntmen. As the civil rights movement began to gain momentum in the 60′s, blacks and other minorities were featured more prominently in movies and television, the practice known as “paint-down” became even more glaring. Consequently, in 1967 the Black Stuntmen’s Association (BSA), a 501 © 3 not-for-profit organization, was established for the pursuit of equality for stunt people of all races and genders.
Bill Cosby—was the first established actor to break the glass ceiling by hiring black stuntmen for black actors when he starred on the television series “I Spy”. This one act changed the common practice of using “paint-down” forever changing the landscape of the motion picture and television industry.
In 2008 the BSA held the first reunion of the original black stuntmen in Las aVegas, which was hosted by legendary actor, producer, and trailblazer, Bill Cosby. Mr. Cosby along with George Wallace presented lifetime achievement awards to these original stuntmen. It was the first time ever that these stuntmen were ever honored.
Today, many of the original stuntmen and women are retired, deceased and/or have been left permanently injured and poorly compensated due to unfair practices and lack of safety and resources at the time. However, these trailblazers opened the doors for many minority stuntmen that today enjoy increased opportunities, good pay and fair and equitable treatment. Additionally, they have established a scholarship fund for minorities to study the art of becoming stuntmen.