Updated: Mar 20, 2020
Historically, Hollywood has not been known for its great diversity, but are things getting better?
I was reading this article recently and I begin to think…
Is Hollywood Becoming More Diverse?
Let's Dig Deeper...
According to USC Professor of Anthropology, Dorinne Kondo, people are somehow diminished or unfulfilled until they are well represented by common cultural traditions. In other words, as we consume a lot of media in the form of entertainment, news, etc., we internalize this media to the extent that we formulate opinions of who we are based on the images presented to us.
Assuming this is true, it could be argued that the producers of these images have an ethical responsibility to create images that represent the diversity of race, gender, culture, and ethnicity of their patrons. As a whole, film studios are one of the entities that bears this responsibility.
Recently, I wrote a blog about the dangers of stereotyping. This is something that I feel strongly about and something that I think plays a critical role in the lack of opportunities afforded to minorities.
Unfortunately, Hollywood has not been immune to stereotyping of this nature and it can be seen regularly in the types of roles historically offered to African Americans, women, and those with disabilities.
These roles have perpetuated certain stereotypes and have negatively impacted minorities. Further, these stereotypes have impacted the jobs made available to people in production; jobs like directors, cinematographers, editors, music composers, etc. have been routinely given to white males. Even when jobs have been offered to minority directors, these directors have often been limited to what types of movies they were allowed to make.
So, that's a brief historical perspective on the subject, but have things changed in recent years?
... Jordan Peele is creating groundbreaking films and in the process showcasing the brilliant work of underrepresented artists.
The More Things Change...
One of my favorite sayings, "Some progress is not enough progress" applies here.
Unfortunately, in spite of films like Black Panther and Parasite getting a lot of recognition and creating an abundance of opportunities for minorities, there is still so much lacking.
According to NPR, only 12.6% of Hollywood script writers are people of color and only 7.8% are directors; and while the number of female directors doubled in the span of one year, the total number is a mere 12.6%.
In recent years, however, visionary director/producer Jordan Peele is not only creating groundbreaking films, but is also showcasing the brilliant work of underrepresented artists in the process.
One such artist is the exceptional composer Michael Abels. If you haven't heard his music for Get Out and Us, I highly recommend checking them out.
It should also be mentioned that Eímear Noone made history as the first woman to conduct the orchestra at the Oscars this year; this is an important step in representative imaging and diversity in Hollywood.
These steps taken toward a more complete film industry will help change the stereotypical landscape that's been cultivated in Hollywood for decades.
So... Where Do We Go From Here??
If some progress isn't enough progress, where do we go from here? Is Hollywood doing better with minority representation? Does the success of films like Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Get Out demonstrate the appeal of diversity and inclusion in American film?
Don't forget to leave your comments below…. What do YOU think?