by Izaak Garcia
When will Hollywood embrace diversity,
inclusion, and representation?
Movies, television, media, entertainment, glamor, money, celebrities, and power… all are synonymous with the industry that is Hollywood. From A-list actors and public figures having their picture taken every second by paparazzi, to movie studios like Universal making their next blockbuster, the film industry offers a seemingly endless amount of entertainment and excitement. With brilliant creators and directors such as James Cameron, Denis Villenueve, Quentin Tarantino, and so many more, it’s no wonder why this industry is one of the biggest in the entire world. People from all over the globe come to Hollywood to collaborate with others that have diverse perspectives and backgrounds that enrich filmmaking to the absolute fullest. But what if that wasn’t the truth?
As the age of modern Hollywood arrives, diversity and inclusion have started to become a more prevalent issue, especially when looking at the demographic of the people who not only live in Hollywood but across the nation as well. The pressing importance of accurately representing the entirety of the American people continues to increase. Yet, as these issues are recognized more and more, the industry within Hollywood has not seemed to change. People of color are still marginalized and limited to basic jobs within the industry, and almost none were given roles in films or television series. A study performed by UCLA was conducted, analyzing the top 100 grossing fictional movies of the late 2000s, and the findings were astounding. It was discovered that three were directed by women, three were directed by men of Asian descent, and eight were directed by Black men. Another study showed that of the speaking or named characters within those same movies, 78% were white. To make matters even more confusing, a study in 2011 performed by the University of California-Los Angeles showed that movies with a more diverse cast do better at the box office (UCLA). So, logically, if people are being vocal about these issues, and studies are done to show that there is no change happening to combat these problems, along with the box office data that proves that films with a diverse cast generate more revenue overall, would it not be in the executive studio’s best interest to be more inclusive when it comes to film?
Surprisingly, many in Hollywood would say that the answer to that question isn’t as simple as a yes or no. I would disagree. I believe that the answer is as simple as yes or no, but the reason why change is not implemented is because of the systemic discrimination deep within Hollywood. It has barred minorities and underrepresented communities from influencing the entertainment industry for decades and continues to present those same barriers even today. But the attention of an audience is a powerful thing, and the people who consume media have much more influence than they might think. Buying movie tickets and watching television shows with people of color is just one of the many ways to support minority creators and create a lasting impact on the industry.
About Izaak Garcia
Izaak Garcia is currently a freshman at the University of Southern California, majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with a minor in Applied Cybersecurity. He has played soccer with FC Peoria, Dunlap, and Richwoods for over a decade combined. Garcia has also played tennis for 4 years, securing a spot on both junior varsity and varsity teams. Along with this, he has competed with the Richwoods Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering team for Biology and English for 2 years and earned multiple awards for the school. Garcia is also heavily involved with the arts. As a multi-instrumentalist, he has played the saxophone for 8 years and piano for 2 years. During his junior year of high school, he was involved in theater at Richwoods as stage crew and manager. He helped with two productions and was being trained to be stage manager for senior year before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted school. Outside of school activities, Garcia is involved in Jack and Jill of America (an organization for young African American men and women to serve the community). He served as his chapter’s treasurer during his freshman year of high school. Along with Jack and Jill of America, he enjoys coding, learning new languages, and playing video games.
Art by Terri Silva
Terri Silva is a 20-year-old sophomore at Bradley University pursuing a major in Television Arts with a minor in Interdisciplinary Film Studies. For Silva, art is a hobby in addition to a potential career, and she takes it very seriously. Silva thrives when she tells stories in all forms: drawings, films, writings, and more. Silva thinks of herself as a creative mind that wants to share ideas with others, while also taking in what they have to offer as well.