Lena Waithe broke down exactly where we need to do better in terms of Hollywood diversity
With the recent success of movies like Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, and Get Out, the film industry seems more inclusive than ever. But in reality, Hollywood is still incredibly lacking when it comes to the representation of people of color. And in a recent op-ed for Time magazine’s “The Art of Optimism” issue (guest-edited by Ava DuVernay), writer Lena Waithe shared that while she’s happy to see increased inclusivity in Hollywood, there’s still much room for improvement.
Waithe began her piece by citing several black filmmakers and performers who have been making waves this past year, including Dime Davis, who’s directing several episodes of BET’s Boomerang spinoff (which Waithe is executive-producing). She deemed the increase in art from black creators a “new renaissance,” noting that she hopes it’s not just a momentary trend, but rather an actual shift in the paradigm.
"[...] My hope is that it no longer needs to be a renaissance, a moment, or a movement," she wrote. "I want it to be the norm. It sometimes seems like people believe: 'They have Black Panther, so they’re cool. Moonlight won best picture, so they’re good. They’ve got shows like Atlanta and Insecure, so they’re done.' But that’s not enough. White folks have everything, and we still have a lot of catching up to do. It’s too soon to be patting ourselves on the back like the problem is solved."
She continued to point out that there is still a major lack of representation in top industry positions, arguing that with white executives in charge, “people of color are a commodity.” Instead of seeking out and supporting black artists, these execs are merely looking for their next “black Blockbuster”—and there’s a big difference. However, she vowed to promote those artists herself.
"Because Hollywood already trusts me to a certain extent, I’m making it my business to find these artists," she said. "We want to give a platform for people to make cool and interesting art—and not have it go through a white filter."
Representation should be the rule—not the exception, and we’re so glad that Waithe is speaking up on this. You can read her full op-ed here.