Everyone agrees it’s a problem, but will there be change?

oscar nominees

LA Times: The Multi-Ethnic Coalition calls for diversity in Hollywood
“When people do not have their image in front of others, we lose our voice,” said Sonny Skyhawk, founder of American Indians in Film and Television…

…The group cited “whitewashing” by studios, referencing instances in which minority characters were either played by white actors — Emma Stone as an Asian American in “Aloha,” Ben Affleck as an Hispanic in “Argo” — or ethnic roles that were rewritten to accommodate white actors.

The alliance also argued that Hollywood has a tendency to limit roles for actors of color to films about historic or extraordinary figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Jackie Robinson, or an “especially dignified slave or maid,” Mayeda said. “It is about how we are perceived by the American public as a whole,” said Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “If we are absent, we don’t have visibility. If we’re [cast] in a negative way, that’s how we will be treated.”

NY Times: What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*If you’re not a straight white man.)
Sam Esmail: Growing up, I [thought] white male was the norm, the default character in every story. I never thought other possibilities could exist.
Ken Jeong: A U.C.L.A. acting professor gave me good marks in my performance and [said]: “You’re a good actor, which is why I’m telling you, stay the hell out of L.A. …
America Ferrera: I was 18 and putting myself on tape for a movie I really wanted. I got that phone call: They cast a Latino male in another role in the film; they’re not looking to cast [a Latina]. So I defiantly bleached my hair blond, painted my face white and made the audition tape. I never heard back. I just remember feeling so powerless. What do you do when someone says, “Your color skin is not what we’re looking for”?

UCLA Bunche Center for African American Studies: 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report PDF

NPR (on Bunche Report): Diversity Sells — But Hollywood Remains Overwhelmingly White, Male
If you want an accurate picture of ethnic and gender diversity in the United States, don’t look to Hollywood. That’s the conclusion of the “2015 Hollywood Diversity Report” conducted by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. The report quantifies the striking — if not surprising — racial and gender imbalances in film and television, both behind and in front of the camera, by comparing the representation of minorities to their actual proportions of the population. “At every level, in every arena, women and minorities are under-represented in the industry,” says Darnell Hunt, the study’s co-author and director of the Bunche Center. “And the only question really is how serious, how egregious that level of under-representation is.”

Mother Jones (on Bunche Report): Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity Is Costing It Millions. Here’s Why.
The researchers examined 163 films released in 2014 and found that the films with truly diverse casts (there were only eight) also had the highest median global revenues and returns on investment. The median film among the 55 with mostly lily-white casts grossed less than half as much—and barely broke even..

Huffington Post: Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Starts At The Top, UCLA Report Finds
Time Warner executive director of diversity and corporate social responsibility Jonathan Bean recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter and agreed that executive attitudes have a major ripple effects in the industry. “I don’t believe it’s malicious,” Beane told THR. “It’s just that people have a better eye for talent when it looks like them and has the same background as them.”

Variety: Diversity in Hollywood: Failure of Inclusion Plagues the Entire Industry
When the study looked into film studios’ executive ranks in 2013, 94 percent of CEOs and/or chairs and 92 percent of senior management were white. Television executives didn’t prove significantly more diverse either. The report found that 96 percent of chairs and/or CEOs and 93 percent of senior management were white.

The Guardian: Racial diversity in films has flatlined – Hollywood needs to rewrite the script
In the words of Viola Davis, winner of an Emmy this week: “The only thing that separates a woman of colour from anything else is opportunity.” But a compilation of lines spoken by people of colour in recent successful films showed how seldom non-white characters speak. If you’re a black man, you are allowed to be a rapper, a bouncer, a drug dealer, a convict, a gang member, a rapist or a wife-beater. You can be a noble slave, the normcore best friend, a duplicitous merchant or space-pirate. You also get to die first. If you’re a black or Hispanic woman, you can be a prostitute, a maid, a nanny, a crack addict, a stripper or a dead body. If you’re an east-Asian woman you can be a geisha, a witch, a concubine, a submissive wife, a waitress in your father’s restaurant or a kidnap victim. Middle Eastern men can be terrorists or local peasants, and east-Asian men can be sadistic enforcers with martial arts skills.

Huffington Post: Okay, Straight White Men, Time To Give Someone Else A Turn In Hollywood
Hollywood is so overpowered by straight white men that it feels like a Tea Party convention at a country club in Connecticut. There are more straight, white male superheroes named Chris than women or minorities with powers combined, but the evidence isn’t purely anecdotal. As delightfully delusional as it may be to subscribe to the idea that straight, white men just happened to consistently be the most talented actors, writers, directors and producers available, the fact is that the current state of the industry is the result of a systemic problem built on enduring practices of gendered and racial discrimination. This week provided some hard evidence to corroborate that.
A condemnatory University of Southern California study, cited by the American Civil Liberties Union, found that less than 2 percent of the 100 highest-grossing films from 2013 and 2014 were directed by women. Of the 3,500 episodes of TV released in that time, just 14 percent were directed by women. But perhaps the most telling information comes from the ACLU’s own investigation, which cites a female director who was informed by a potential employer that they had “already hired a woman this season.”

Huffington PostAva DuVernay Says Too Many Films Focus On The ‘White, Straight, Male’ Perspective
“I don’t consider it a challenge to say it’s a black film or a Liberian film or a film by a Japanese filmmaker. These are all the nuances. This array, which is what we’re celebrating, is a good thing,” she said, referencing her newly-rebranded distribution company ARRAY. “The bad thing is that there’s not balance. It’s imbalanced. We’re seeing too many films with only one voice, from one dominant white, male, straight gaze … and everything else is lopsided.”
…DuVernay also spoke to the small percentage of black filmmakers whose work actually makes it to the big screen. In fact, one 2013 study found that only 6.5 percent of the directors behind the 100 top-grossing films were black, none of whom were black women.

Albert Manero, Robert Downey Jr, Bionic Arms and Using Your Power For Good

Source: YouTube, Limbitless Solutions, Facebook
Free Instructions: EnablingtheFuture, Thingiverse

Albert Manero is a doctoral student in mechanical engineering (UCF), Fulbright Scholar and founder of a volunteer organization, Limbitless Solutions. They’ve designed a cheap (less than $350 in materials) bionic prosthetic arm for children, made on a 3-D printer, and put the design up on the internet for free.

Due to the small size, children’s prosthetics are harder to make and expensive ($40,000 and up). The costs are exacerbated because children outgrow them and need new ones, so insurance doesn’t cover it.

“We were all bound to the belief that no one should profit from a child in need of an arm,” says Manero.

‘Ride’ – Written, Directed, Starring Helen Hunt

Source: YouTube (release date looks to be May 1, 2015)

Serena Williams Returns to Indian Wells to Benefit The Equal Justice Initiative

Source: Time, YouTube, Omaze, EJI

Serena Williams: I’m Going Back to Indian Wells

The tennis star writes exclusively in TIME about her decision to return to a tournament that has haunted her

We were outsiders.

It was March 2001, and I was a 19-year-old focused on winning and being the best I could be, both for me and for the kids who looked up to me. I had spent tens of thousands of hours—most of my ­adolescence—­serving, running, practicing, training day in and day out in pursuit of a dream. And it had started to become a reality. As a black tennis player, I looked different. I sounded different. I dressed differently. I served differently. But when I stepped onto the court, I could compete with anyone.  (Article continued at the source.)

Disney Screws Up Royally

Source: BuzzFeed

If Disney’s Live-Action Cinderella Had Her Natural Waistline

Well, this would have been refreshing.

There has been a lot of controversy about the size of actor Lily James’ waistline in the upcoming Disney movie. Lily James even admitted to going on a liquid diet to fit into the corseted dress. Disney reps deny using any CGI to alter her waist, although let it slip that they used CGI to make her feet smaller.

Even if Disney didn’t use CGI, what if they had put Lily James in a normal dress and she didn’t have to be on a liquid diet just to get into it? Check out how much difference a subtle change makes in the results we created below:

disney cgi jpg

Still looks like a beautiful princess to us. (More photos at the source.)

Speaking Up

Source: BuzzFeed

31 Times Celebrities Gave The Best Damn Responses To Sexist Questions


emma watson twitter

mindy kaling copy


(More at the source.)

Netflix’s ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Source: Netflix, YouTube (trailer)