A Discussion on Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity

In response to USC Annenberg’s publication of their Hollywood diversity report, researchers Stacy L. Smith and Katherine Pieper, NPR TV critic Eric Deggans and podcast host David Greene. The group discuss the issues concerning Hollywood and their neglect of diversity.

Statistically speaking, the transcript mentions that about 40% of the national population are people of color, however, only 28% have speaking roles within recently released films. In addition, the transcript covers how Hollywood’s major film distributors fail at making diverse films which reach to people of color.  Katherine Pieper, who helped create the USC report, mentions the value of diversifying the film industry. Pieper says that diversity ensures that everyone’s story is being told on screen. When there are less people of color represented in film, the film loses the audience’s favor and interest. In addition, a growing distrust in film will continue since numerous films do not accurately represent the nation’s population.

A transcript of the podcast can be found here.

Citation:

Smith, Stacy L., and Katherine Peiper. “Researchers Examine Hollywood’s Lack Of Diversity.” Interview by Eric Deggans. NPR. NPR, 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Feb. 2017.

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Data From USC’s 2016 Diversity Report

The following selection of data charts highlights the findings conducted by staff of University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Based on the statistics, it shows that Hollywood has a long way to go in in order improve diversity within the film industry (in addition to other entertainment industries).

Some facts within the report state that 7 out of 109 films had a diverse cast and that 26.7% of films with minorities cast for speaking roles.

Aside from race, the report mentions statistics from other societal minority group such as the LGBT community and women. For example in 2015, 3.4% of directors and 10.8% of writers were women. On the corporate level, 25.6% of the entertainment industry’s top executives were women and an average of less than 21% of top tier positions were held by women. Even though it is the 21st century, Hollywood needs to improve upon the lack of diversity within the film industry. Hollywood needs to stop relying on stereotypes and the practice of ‘older Hollywood’ in order to accurately represent the diverse members of society on the big screen.

The complete report containing the data below can be found here: USC Annenberg’s Diversity Report

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Citation:

Smith, Stacy L., Marc Choueiti, and Katherine Pieper. “INCLUSION or INVISIBILITY?

Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment.” Annenberg.usc.edu. USC

Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <

http://annenberg.usc.edu/pages/~/media/MDSCI/CARDReport%20FINAL%2022216.ashx&gt;.

Black Panther & A Positive Representation

blackpanther

Photo from: http://geekandsundry.com/marvel-announces-director-for-upcoming-black-panther-movie/  

Black Panther is one of Marvel’s upcoming films for next year.

As synopsized by Haleigh Foutch:

“Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.”

Synopsis From: http://collider.com/black-panther-cast-synopsis-filming/

The film’s superhero Black Panther was first introduced in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War along with Tom Holland’s updated Spiderman. However, what stands out from Marvel’s previous films is that Black Panther features a majority black cast.

Here is the cast list:

Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa/Black Panther

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, a Wakandan warrior

Danai Gurira as a member of Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s personal guard

Forest Whitaker as Zuri, an elder statesman of Wakanda

Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, T’Challa’s friend

Florence Kasumba as a member of Dora Milaje, T’Challa’s personal guard

Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross

Angela Bassett as T’Challa’s mom

Andy Serkis as Ulysses Claw

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Photo from: http://imgur.com/gallery/NB3LV

 

Joe Robert Cole (left) and Ryan Cooler (right)

Director: Ryan Coogler

Screenplay by: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

Black Panther’s director Ryan Coogler is best known for his films Creed and Fruitvale Station which both star Michael B. Jordan as the lead character.

With the exception of Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis, most of the main characters are played by black people. As screenwriter Joe Robert Cole states:

Black Panther is a historic opportunity to be a part of something important and special, particularly at a time when African Americans are affirming their identities while dealing with vilification and dehumanization. The image of a black hero on this scale is just really exciting.” (Interview from: “Oscars so White? Black Panther to the Rescue”)

In other words, Black Panther marks the first superhero film in the Marvel lineup which showcase people of color with a positive portrayal. Instead of being portrayed as thugs or criminals, this film will present T’Challa as an intelligent King and the other characters as warriors and strong individuals. Hopefully with Black Panther, it changes how people of color are commonly represented within Hollywood films.

 

Citations