The minority population in the United States is growing each year and it is reported that the minority population will soon become the majority by 2050. However, lack of diversity in Hollywood is still as prevalent as it was during the Jim Crow era. Although Jim Crow is no more, and the industry is aiming to be inclusive, the concept of the U.S. being a “melting pot” is not a concept reflected in entertainment. Statistically, 2.2 out of 10 lead roles in a scripted syndicated show are casted by people of color. Additionally, only 2 out of 10 lead actors in film, are people of color says The Hollywood Diversity Report 2019 (https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UCLA- Hollywood-Diversity-Report-2019-2-21-2019.pdf) -annual report published UCLA College of Social Sciences. The Hollywood Diversity Report authored by Dr. Darnell Hunt, Dr. Ana-Cristina, and Michael Tran is only the sixth edition of its kind; seeks to investigate diversity in Hollywood and subsequently the entertainment industry. For this study, UCLA examined the top 200 films of 2017 and 1,316 cable and digital produced tv shows from 2016 to 2017. For examination of these 200 films and 1,316 tv shows, UCLA tested each based on what they dubbed 12 arena areas that examined white lead roles to minority roles. The results are as follows:
Film leads: 2:1 Film directors: 3:1 Film writers: 5:1 Cable Scripted lead roles: 2:1 Digital scripted lead roles: 2:1 Broadcasted lead roles: 2:1 Broadcasted reality roles: >2:1 Cable reality roles: 2:1 Digital reality roles: <2:1 Creators of broadcast scripted shows: 4:1 Creators of cable scripted shows: 3:1 Creators of digital scripted shows: 3:1
(source: https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UCLA-Hollywood- Diversity-Report-2019-2-21-2019.pdf Although UCLA reported increases in roles compared to previous years, minorities are seemingly still unrepresented in the entertainment industry. An alarming finding, because content with diverse casts did well in 2016 and 2017 (i.e. HBO’s Insecure, FX’s Atlanta, and the CW’s Jane the Virgin).
Women in Media
Aww yes, another underrepresented minority in the ever-growing industry. The men to women ratios are as follows:
Film leads: 2:1 Film directors: 4:1 Film writers: 4:1 Cable Scripted lead roles: less than proportionate representation Digital scripted lead roles: less than proportionate representation Broadcasted lead roles: less than proportionate representation Broadcasted reality roles: 2:1 Cable reality roles: 2:1 Digital reality roles: >2:1 Creators of broadcast scripted shows: 2:1 Creators of cable scripted shows: 2:1 Creators of digital scripted shows: >2:1
(source: https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UCLA-Hollywood- Diversity-Report-2019-2-21-2019.pdf As the data shows women and minorities are still underrepresented in Hollywood. For segmented lists based on top shows among specific demographics and lead roles, visit https://socialsciences.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UCLA-Hollywood-Diversity- Report-2019-2-21-2019.pdf
Black-Owned TV Networks (and then there was nine…)
Before co-founder and former CEO Bob Johnson sold BET to Viacom for 3 billion dollars, there were only ten Black-Owned TV Networks. Of course, after the 2000 sell, networks have both joined the lists or disappeared altogether. Today, there are only nine reported established networks: TV One Bounce TV ASPiRE TV Revolt TV Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) The Impact Network Soul of the South Black on Purpose Television Network (BOP TV) The Dream Network
Two new networks are reported to join the ranks of the few Black-Owned Networks.
Latino-Owned TV Networks
A compilation of Latino-Owned Networks was difficult to find, as I found majority of the lists were of Spanish speaking Networks and did not explicitly Latino ownership. Nonetheless, the numbers were also low.
What Does this Mean for Hollywood?
Women and people of color remain underrepresented in media. As the data shows, creative opportunities are given more to white people than they are given to people of color. Additionally, opportunities are given to men than they are given to their female counterparts. Therefore, media messages and content are rarely diverse. Time and time again we are fed news content from rarely differentiated angles, fed similar storylines for movies and TV shows, and force-fed pop music. Recently, social media movement such as “Oscars So White” and “MeToo” have called to change the landscape of Hollywood. As a Black woman in media, I would love to see more inclusion in Hollywood. Share your thoughts!