SAG-AFTRA panel explores new opportunities for Native Americans
Hollywood is slowly catching up with its increasingly diverse audience. But there is still a long way to go before those who create movies and TV shows match the ethnic and sexual makeup of those who watch them.
Dr. Darnell Hunt, dean of the Division of Social Sciences at UCLA and professor of Sociology and African American Studies, has followed these trends for more than two decades. Speaking at SAG-AFTRA’s #Stop the Hate Week today, he provided eight years of data showing Hollywood has made consistent gains in diversity and inclusion. But it’s been so far behind the diversity curve for so long that it will have to redouble its efforts if it ever hopes to achieve true parity.
“Somewhere around 2043, demographers tell us, the United States will become a majority minority country,” he said. “In fact, we are becoming more and more diverse by just under half a percent each year in terms of the share of people of color in the population.” In 1960, minorities made up only about 15% of the American population, and now represent over 40%.
SAG-AFTRA panel explores new opportunities for Native Americans
“This means that the Hollywood film and television market is becoming much, much more diverse,” he said, noting that the data proves it. “A diverse audience increasingly demands diverse content.
In his latest report on movies released in 2019 and TV shows aired in the 2018-19 season, he looked at 146 of the top grossing movies and 463 scripted TV shows, and compared them to the data he has collected over the past eight years. Across nearly every category, women and minorities have made consistent, sometimes impressive, gains but remain well below their percentage of the US population.
On the film side, he found that women only got 30.8% of leading roles in 2012, but had landed 44.1% of those roles in 2019, moving ever closer to parity. People of color, meanwhile, made up just 15.1% of leading roles in 2012, but 27.6% in 2019, not quite doubling in eight years. Yet, he warned, it’s well below their percentage of the US population. “People of color shouldn’t quite double their share of prospects to achieve proportional representation in this area. But you see the trend is up, so I guess it’s positive. But we still have a long way to go. “
Women and minority film writers and directors have also made progress, but are far from achieving parity. Women made only 5.8% of the highest grossing films in 2012. “This number has almost tripled to reach 15.1% in 2019, but women should still triple this share to reach proportional representation,” said he declared.
People of color made 11% of films in his survey in 2012 and 14.4% in 2019. “People of color would need to triple their share of directors to achieve proportional representation in this area, so we have a long way to go. Browse. the terms of office of the directors. “
Minority writers fell from 7.8% in 2012 to 13.9% in 2019. “People of color haven’t quite doubled their share. But we still have a long way to go before people of color achieve proportional representation among recognized film writers. “
Women writers were credited on 13% of films in his 2012 survey and on 17.4% in 2019. “Women, just over half of the population, are unfortunately under-represented among the writers credited in the film. cinema.”
One of the main problems with the industry, he said, “is that executive suites tend to be predominantly white and male, which crowds out the possibility for people of color and women to occupy these rooms. very important decision-making positions on types. projects are given the green light. “
According to his data, 91% of presidents and CEOs of major Hollywood movie studios in 2020 were white and 82% were men. The numbers are roughly the same in the senior management ranks: 91% white and 80% male. Among unit heads, which includes those in charge of casting and marketing, 86% were white and 59% were men last year.
On the television side, its data on executives from major networks was similar, although women make up a higher percentage of senior executives: 32% of CEOs and chairmen; 40% of senior managers and 46% of heads of unit. By race, 92% of CEOs and presidents; 84% of senior managers and 54% of unit heads last year were white.
The creators of television shows are also predominantly white and male, although women and minorities also gain. In TV shows aired during the 2011-12 season, only 4.2% of creators were people of color, but more than doubled to 10.7% in 2018-19. The creators increased their percentage from 26.5% in 2011-12 to 28.1% in the last season he surveyed.
In terms of the overall population, Hunt said, “We still have a long way to go before people of color are able to create the shows that people see. In fact, people of color are expected to nearly quadruple their 2018-19 share to achieve proportional representation among broadcast creators. “
Hunt found similar numbers in cable shows: Minority creators nearly doubled from 7.4% in 2011-12 to 14.5% eight years later, while female creators jumped from 21. 5% to 22.4%. In digital broadcasts, the percentage of minority creators fell from 6.2% in the 2013-14 season to 10.3% five years later, while female creators fell from 15.6% to 28.6%.
The percentage of leading roles for women increased in cable and digital programming, but declined on television, from 48.5% in 2011-12 to 44.8% in 2018-19. “Women have taken a step or two back among the leaders in television, compared to near parity when we started this study eight years ago.”
Minority actors, however, have made significant gains on television, with their percentage of leading roles dropping from just 5.1% in the 2011-12 season to 24% in 2018-19, which Hunt says is ” almost five times the share of 2011-12. So there has been quite a bit of progress in TV broadcasting among leads for people of color. But we still have a way to go: 24% is about 16 percentage points below the share of people of color in the US population. “
The percentage of leading roles for people of color was even higher on cable TV, dropping from 14.7% in the 2011-12 season to 35% in 2018-19. “People of color in 2018-19 were very close to proportional representation,” he said. The leading roles of women in cable broadcasts fell from 37.1% to 44.8% – the same as in television broadcasting.
The leading roles of women in digital shows almost reached parity – 49.4% – in 2018-2019, up from 35.3% five years earlier. Minority leads went from 9.1% in 2013-14 to 24.1% in 2018-19. “It’s a bit of progress – almost tripling their share.”
Hunt also found that the percentage of minority writers working on broadcast, cable and digital TV shows has more than doubled. On release, they went from 9.7% in 2011-12 to 23.4% eight years later; on cable, they went from 11.8% in 2011-12 to 25.8% eight years later; and on digital, they went from 10.8% in 2013-14 to 22.8% five years later.
Hunt said that a key part of his research shows that diversity in hiring is good for studio results: that more inclusive castings among their eight lead characters generate higher ratings and bigger profits. According to his research, films released in 2019 did increasingly better at the box office as their castings diversified.
Films in which key actors of color made up only 11% or less of a cast generated, on average, only $ 22 million at the box office, and were steadily increasing as the number of minority actors of foreground increased: to $ 36.9 million for films with 11-20% minority leads; at $ 71.7 for films with 21 to 30% minority leads; dropping to $ 68 million for films with 31-40% minority leads, before reaching the highest gross average of $ 76.1 million for films with 41-50% minority leads. Films with more than 50% minority leads, however, fell back to $ 44 million. His research found similar results, in terms of audience, for television shows.
Introducing Hunt, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White said: “We need data to fight racism and hate. Everything we do to fix it is always reinforced when we bring essential data and information into the conversation. “