It Was a Re­ally Good Week for Di­ver­sity

Variety - - Field Notes - Clau­dia Eller Co-editor-in-chief

Fi­nally, there ap­pears to be some progress in the in­dus­try on di­ver­sity. But I know I’m not alone when I say that ‘some’ is not nearly enough.”

As Va­ri­ety’s an­nual In­clu­sion Con­fer­ence in L.A. on Nov. 15 ap­proaches, I couldn’t help be­ing struck — and to­tally stoked — by last week’s ex­hil­a­rat­ing news that so many women, peo­ple of color and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the LGBTQ com­mu­nity pre­vailed in the midterm elec­tions. Hol­ly­wood, please take note! Bar­ri­ers of race, gen­der and sex­ual iden­tity were shat­tered across our coun­try. With the Democrats seiz­ing con­trol of the House, CNN po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Van Jones de­scribed the re­sults of the midterms as a “rain­bow wave,” say­ing the Demo­cratic Party just got “younger, browner, cooler, more women. ”

Among the many vic­to­ries for di­ver­sity: Democrats Veron­ica Es­co­bar and Sylvia Gar­cia be­came the first Lati­nas elected to Congress in Texas; Sharice Davids, of Kansas, and Deb Haa­land, of New Mex­ico, were elected the first Na­tive Amer­i­can women in Congress, with Davids also be­com­ing her state’s first les­bian con­gress­woman; Michi­gan’s Rashida Tlaib and Min­nesota’s Il­han Omar be­came the first two Mus­lim women in the House; Jared Po­lis, of Colorado, is the first openly gay gover­nor; and Alexan­dria Oca­sio-cortez, 29, from New York, be­came the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

These devel­op­ments should serve to re­mind the en­ter­tain­ment world that studios, net­works, agen­cies and me­dia and tech firms must step up and hire more women, mi­nori­ties and LGBTQ peo­ple in its C-suites and on boards as well as on movie and TV pro­duc­tions.

Kristo­pher Tap­ley’s fea­ture story in this week’s magazine talks about how, fi­nally, there ap­pears to be some progress in the in­dus­try along these lines. I know I’m not alone when I say that “some” is not nearly enough. As we have noted many times in our cov­er­age, there has been a woe­ful lack of progress re­gard­ing women and di­ver­sity in a busi­ness still dom­i­nated by white men.

The con­sen­sus Tap­ley gleaned from his in­ter­views with in­dus­try in­sid­ers is that long-stand­ing lip ser­vice has be­gun to give way to real ac­tion. For ex­am­ple, this fall, Warn­er­me­dia es­tab­lished a di­ver­sity pro­to­col, which will in­clude an­nual re­ports on its progress. I’m go­ing to try to re­main op­ti­mistic about Hol­ly­wood’s ef­forts. Mean­while, God bless Amer­i­can democ­racy for get­ting it right in the midterms!

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