It’s been a while since my last post, which unfortunately isn’t a surprise because business school is ridiculous. I survived recruiting and have a lot of thoughts about the start of school, so expect new posts to come your way before too long (hopefully) about that.
In the meantime, I want to share a piece I wrote for Kellogg’s student news startup #daybreaK (think The Skimm for Kellogg, started by my awesome friend Rachel) about diversity and the Oscars:
#OscarsSoWhite is so hot right now. And it’s an extension of a larger conversation this past year about diversity in Hollywood across both racial and gender lines. As a biracial woman who worked in entertainment, I’m passionate about this convo and have been keeping up as best I can (thanks a lot, recruiting).
So as we head into Oscars weekend, here is some background for you to explore.
And YouTuber chescaleigh released this awesome satirical Oscar nominees nail tutorial.
- This New York Times article heard ‘round the world started a discussion about gender in Hollywood that even led to a secret meeting of 44 entertainment execs (including Orange is the New Black’s Jenji Kohan and Twilight’s Catherine Hardwicke) to discuss the gender bias in Hollywood.
- Curious about what working in Hollywood is like if you’re not a straight white man? This latest batch of stories from celebrities like Julia Roberts, Ken Jeong, and Mindy Kaling has you covered.
- Jessica Chastain wrote an essay about The Zookeeper’s Wife, the most female-heavy set she’s been on. “It’s a very collaborative experience. […] There are no strange power plays or egos. We know how rare making this kind of film is. We’re giddy with happiness.” That unbelievably female-heavy shoot? About 20% women. So many ladies, amirite?
- Also! Breaking News: Yesterday Jessica Chastain and other Hollywood heavy-hitters announced the creation of We Do It Together, a new nonprofit dedicated to financing media dedicated to women’s empowerment.
- In the wake of the Academy’s all-white acting nominations, Variety ran a killer cover image and story that addressed lack of inclusion throughout the entertainment industry, from talent agencies to executives to on-screen talent.
- Within a week of the nominations, the Academy (whose president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is an African-American woman) made major changes to its governance, voting, and recruitment to double representation from diverse groups in the organization to 14% by 2020. (You read that right, double to 14%, not from.)
- Just a year after speaking out about Hollywood’s race problem, Oscars host Chris Rock has the super fun job of trying to salvage the ratings of a show that he called “the white BET Awards.” Should make for an interesting broadcast.
- In the meantime, ABC (which has a contract to air the Oscars until 2020) just appointed Channing Dungey as Entertainment President, making her the first African-American to run a broadcast network.
So why does this matter? This quote from Ava DuVernay (one of my entertainment heroes, the director of Selma whose Barbie doll sold out within an hour) nails it: “Everyone should be able to see themselves. Images and balance in storytelling, our imagination, is something that should be embraced and widened and expanded. So that’s what I’m hoping this does.”
Representation in Hollywood is about more than checking the diversity box. It’s about creating a content landscape that reflects us all and shares the richness of our experiences so we can learn to understand each other and imagine our own wild, uncharted possibilities. Media influences culture. The stories we consume shape us. We deserve better.