Hollywood Diversity: Making Sense of the Disconnect in 2014

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by Karen Marie Mason
February 17, 2014 10:51 AM
2 Comments
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The UCLA Ralph Bunch “Hollywood Diversity Report: Making Sense Of The Disconnect” was released this week, and, guess what? Not much has changed. 

The 2014 "Hollywood Diversity Report: Making Sense of the Disconnect," is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive look to date at diversity in the entertainment industry.

"The report paints a picture of an industry that is woefully out of touch with an emerging America," said the studies lead author Darnell Hunt, Director of the UCLA Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies. 

The “Hollywood Diversity Report,” one of the most complete and comprehensive analysis of diversity in the entertainment industry, found that talent, both in front and behind the camera, is not representative of the diversity in the American marketplace. Interestingly enough, the study also found that the greater the diversity in front of the camera the greater the viewership and the greater the profits. Apparently that has not been enough of a motivator to bring about substantial change.

The UCLA report studied nearly 200 American made movies from 2011 and over 1,000 television and cable shows that aired during the 2011 – 12 season. Whether it was in front of the camera or behind it the results of women and minority representation was dismal at best. The study also included talent agencies as well as the major award shows and the findings will probably not surprise you.

You can read more about the study here: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/hollywood-failing-to-keep-up-with-250007.aspx

While this study does not include 2013 - which some may argue was a banner year for minorities and women in film and television - the reality is that, one year won’t change the pattern that has been the norm for decades.  

"The situation is better than it was in the 1950s, but Hollywood is falling further and further behind," Hunt said. 

So while there should be continued efforts to affect change in terms of minority representation in Hollywood, I predict that the DIY model polished by content creators like Issa Rae, Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier of Black & Sexy TV, Donnie Leapheart, and films like “Fruitvale Station” and “Dear White People” are carving a new paradigm and paving a new and exciting way and opportunities for Minorities in front and behind the camera.

Here is the studies Author Dr. Hunt summarizing the study:

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2 Comments

  • Boykin | February 17, 2014 8:41 PMReply

    "So while there should be continued efforts to affect change in terms of minority representation in Hollywood,"

    --There will be, but not in any direct way. The clever people will just pull a Prince and go around the people that are holding on to the "all white everything", no one will buy what you're selling model. Of course a film or television show with a ethnically diverse cast can sell overseas, if the people that are in those positions want to sell it. You think somebody in Hollywood, in that position, would fail at selling it if they really wanted to? I will Nell Carter you, homie.

    "I predict that the DIY model polished by content creators like Issa Rae, Dennis Dortch and Numa Perrier of Black & Sexy TV, Donnie Leapheart, and films like “Fruitvale Station” and “Dear White People” are carving a new paradigm and paving a new and exciting way and opportunities for Minorities in front and behind the camera."

    --It's always been that way. Scorsese started making the films he made cos he didn't see himself represented in the films of the time. & not just him, Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles -- and even before many others, there was Noble Johnson with the Lincoln Motion Picture Company. There's plenty of examples of people not waiting for someone, specifically in the entertainment biz, to open the door for them or ring them on the phone for an opportunity. They realized they didn't have to wait. Neither do you.

  • Daryl | February 17, 2014 2:57 PMReply

    This is a good article. Hollywood is not going to change unless they are forced to. The answer is what he mention. The DIY model. When tv series and movies start doing big numbers on vod, hollywood will change overnight because they want have no choice if they don't want to get left behind.

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