It Was a Really Good Week for Diversity
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!