Not much has changed in the film industry when it comes to diversity. For instance second year in a row the Oscars nominated 20 white actors as the best performances of the year. In protest high profiles celebrities such as Spike Lee announced to boycott the ceremony. And George Clooney also expressed his displeasure at the notion of actors of colour not being nominated, saying about a decade ago the industry was doing a better job than present.
And Academy President Cheryl Boone said she was frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This year African American actors who could have been easily nominated, but were not: Will Smith in Concussion, Iris Elba in Beats of No Nation: and Straight Outta Compton could have also been nominated.
Apparently it is even much worse for other ethnic groups such as Hispanics, Chinese and Indians. They rarely get any roles except tokenism once in a while. It is a known fact that the average Hollywood film is made for the average white male between the ages 19 – 21 years old, but that is no excuse not to cast people of colour.
I can recall when I was in the film industry in Vancouver, now know as North Hollywood, in the early 1990’s where I usually ended up playing as a “terrorist” or a ” taxi driver”.
Decision makers in Hollywood need to understand that their audiences are very much diverse and it is time for them to represent that change in the films.
And apparently the music industry is not much better. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to work with Jan Cooper in Vancouver who helped shaped bands like Lover Boy and White Snake. And he told me that he knows of many talented Canadians of Chinese, Filipino and South Asian descent that want to be singers but the record companies refuse to even look at their CVs.
Well the only way the decision makers in Hollywood Films and the music industry is going to change is to put pressure and make them understand that it is now the 21st century.
Perhaps they need to heed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said, “it is 2015” when asked to comment on his cabinet members being 50 percent female.