Hollywood has long flaunted the importance of enhancing diversity, inclusion and representation, but its exclusionary structures remain largely in place.
It was a topic of the “Amplifying Diverse Voices in Hollywood” panel – featuring Carmen Carerra, Deon Taylor, E. Brian Dobbins, Manjari Makijany, Marja-Lewis Ryan, Samata Narra and Sanjay Sharma and moderated by the CEO of Black Monarch Entertainment Olivia Charmaine Morris – explored. The group discussed the importance of bringing more diverse voices to the entertainment industry, the progress that has been made, and furthermore, what remains to be done.
The panel, which was part of TheWrap’s TheGrill 2021, began with the topic of #EmmysSoWhite, the Twitter hashtag that trended last week after no actor of color won in any of the acting categories despite the record number of various nominees this year.
For Taylor, co-founder and co-CEO of independent film company Hidden Empire Film Group, the results – including having to watch the cast of “blackishâGettingâ blown up again â- were disappointing.
âWhen you really think of over a hundred awards given out and you see that night we got four, that was sad,â Taylor said. “It really was.”
Dobbins, the executive producer of the sitcom “blackishWho, despite his singular victory, had a total of 25 Emmy nominations (including four for Outstanding Comedy Series; the show’s protagonists Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross have seven and five acting nominations, respectively. ), remembered that the price the show is not “set up” for people of color.
âI always remember when you are invited to someone else’s birthday party, they are the one who sets the rules,â Dobbins said of that night. “I think I’m putting too much emphasis on someone else’s party.”
Likewise, for Sharma, Founder and CEO of Marginal MediaWorks Inc., a media company focused on telling stories from marginalized voices, navigating diversity and inclusion in the industry is about “making progress. inside the structure âas well as on its own terms.
“It’s not a game you win by playing [the systemâs] rules, âSharma said. âWe are playing a different game and we have the opportunity to expand the ecosystem and change the culture of the industry itself. “
Narra, senior vice president of corporate inclusion content strategy at Warner Media, believes that despite Hollywood’s centuries-old structures, talent has been and continues to be the “defining factor” in studios. and that the importance of multiple hyphens is finally recognized, as they have the opportunity to explore multiple genres and areas of the industry.
For Ryan, showrunner, executive producer and director of Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q”, that means using his “seat of power” to “open the door” to the next generation of queer people of color and make room for them. stories and voices to be heard.
Carmen Carerra, actress and trans rights activist, said that members of minority communities, especially the trans community, have âthe power to change the world,â through their storytelling, which in turn creates space for more and more possibilities for others. However, in order to do that, TV and movies need to âmirrorâ what trans people’s lives really look like, which Carerra says is not happening.
And as much as the change in the Hollywood landscape is based on creating greater access and centering marginalized voices, the accountability of those in leadership positions in the industry plays an equally important role.
“The more we are on the same wavelength and united on [accountability] as other people, as outsiders, as marginalized voices, the less industry can really do anything about it, so we have to keep doing what we’ve been doing, âSharma said. “What excites me is that we can do it together now.”
Watch a snippet of the panel above and the full conversation here.
For more than a decade, TheWrap’s Grill event series has led the conversation about the convergence of entertainment, media and technology, bringing together journalists to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing content in the era. digital. Tailored for C-Suite and high profile attendees, TheGrill presented by WrapPRO, features a unique series of curated discussions, industry panels, and virtual network activations that explore the ever-changing media landscape. Check out the full Grill panel and content here: www.thewrap.com/the-grill-2021-welcome/.