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Diversity Does Not Equal Black

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Justin Samuels     Permalink
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A number of Black actors won awards at the SAG Awards. While I certainly am happy that SAG wasn't all white, there were no mentions of Hispanic or Asian actors being nominated. Also before people get too happy there was once a year where Denzel Washington won best actor while Halle Berry won best actress. Clearly this wasn't sustained. There are now more Latinos in major tv roles and in coming years the industry and the guilds need to recognize this and build upon this. Also LGBT actors need greater roles and recognition.

The Academy's decision to diversify it's membership is wonderful news. However this underscores the need to diversify the executives making decisions in the industry, and to diversify the entire behind the scenes chain (writers, directors, producers, casting director, agents, etc).

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Ironically the superhero films (as they are marketed towards huge audiences of all races) have made more progress in diversity. Avengers: Age of Ultron saw the team expand the number of women and had two Black members join. X-Men: Apocalypse has one major Black character (Storm), two major Asian characters (Psylocke and Jubilee) and Oscar Isaac who is Hispanic plays immortal Egyptian mutant Apocalypse. I think the superhero movies are illustrating that the change must occur in who is hired. Waiting for the Awards to come up is waiting too late. I think it also shows that the producers on the superhero movies deserve credit for being ahead of the rest of the film industry.

A lack of diversity behind the scenes isn't just unfair, it severely limits the types of stories and the quality of stories that audiences may see. By making films that increasingly don't look like America, the film industry risks losing out financially in the long run. Hispanics now outnumber Blacks and the Asian population in this nation is rapidly growing. The United States is not a Black and White nation and it's ti,e the entertainment industry realizes that.

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http://twitter.com/#!/screenwriter32

Screenwriter. Historian. BA in History and certificate in Latin American studies from Cornell University. MA in English Education from Columbia University. Very interested in public policy.


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