If the industry won’t change on principle, it can at least change for the money. Reform would enrich people of color, and everyone else.
By Franklin Leonard for the New York Times
Days after a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, suffocated George Floyd and the video went viral, I watched my social media feed fill with blackout tiles and corporate publicity statements. They poured in from every industry, proclaiming solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Hollywood — where I have worked for almost two decades — was no exception.
Far from offering relief, each new assertion by a talent agency, film studio, television network or streaming service that “silence is complicity” and that “we must do better” felt like a pinch of salt in a gaping wound. I found myself unable to ignore the gap between these meticulously workshopped platitudes and the daily words and actions I’ve witnessed in Hollywood, which reflect values I knew cost not only dollars but lives: How many movies like “Black Panther” have we not made? And more broadly, how many lives have we lost in part because of the dehumanization of Black people that Hollywood has perpetuated for more than a century?
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