A new report released by UCLA reveals the film industry lags television in making advances in diverse hiring.
“Our findings reveal that, regardless of race, audiences want to see diversity on the screen,” said Ana-Christina Ramón, director of research and civic engagement for the Division of Social Sciences, and one of the authors of UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report.
“Our reports have continually shown that diversity sells, but the TV and film product continues to fall short. So audiences are left wanting more representation on screen that reflects the world they see in their daily lives.”
Despite the findings of the report, Hollywood decision makers still think the undeniable success of a movie like The Black Panther, is an anomaly. This type of thinking means Hollywood’s trend to truly reflect its audience is moving forward at glacial speed.
The recent report suggests that the industry at large should invest in hiring that is reflective of the U.S. population, which is nearly 40 percent minority and at least 50 percent female. The fifth annual report was published Tuesday.
“There is still a long way to go before women or people of color reach proportionate representation among the actors in film and television, but at least the trend lines for both groups point in the right direction,” the report added.
Gains were primarily confined to digital scripted shows for female leads, broadcast television for leads, and show creators of color. The report emphasized that positive trends for women and minorities in film were much less pronounced.
Whether or not The Black Panther’s success will be a cultural milestone that changes Hollywood’s thinking or in typical Hollywood fashion, produce a bunch of copycat projects, thus produce real change, remains to be seen.
Taken as a whole, the study confirms that from a business standpoint, Hollywood executives are leaving money on the table when they don’t produce movies and television with diverse casts and creators.
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