On the heels of the recent diversity report from cross-town football rival, USC, today UCLA has released its study on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. The 60-page scholarly report, created by the Bunche Center of African American Studies, is filled with numbers that are sadly familiar: There can be no doubt that the entertainment industry is not a place of equal opportunity.
This report comes with a new wrinkle, however. Hollywood may be losing audiences, and hence revenue, because of its homogeneous ways. In a town where the “business” part of the phrase “show business” is often used to justify practices, perhaps it’s time to step back and reconsider the future.
At nearly 40 percent of the nation’s population and growing, people of color are overrepresented among Hollywood’s audiences. Indeed, most of the movie tickets for four of the top-10 films in 2014 (including the number one film) were purchased by people of color. Similarly, viewer ratings and social media engagement demonstrate that people of color now make up arguably the most important segment of the television audience. But Hollywood industry powerbrokers seem oblivious to these audience realities. The very people best situated to help them connect with today’s (and tomorrow’s) audiences are hardly at the table.