Hollywood’s Diversity Issue Is Even More Clear In Report About The Academy Actors Branch Demographics
Saying that Hollywood has a diversity problem is a huge understatement, and one that most who aren't living under a rock are likely well aware of at this point. Sadly, despite the incredibly talented people of color in every area of the entertainment industry, accolades and jobs continue to, mostly, go to white writers, directors, and performers. It should go without saying that some serious changes need to be made. While several prominent Hollywood figures have vowed to boycott the 2016 Oscars because, for another year in a row ‚ the nominations consist of predominantly white talent, the problem goes much deeper than that — a fact made only more evident by the New York Times' discovery that the Academy's acting branch is a staggering 87 percent white.
This is a problem.
To make matters worse, not only is the acting branch 87 percent white, but the New York Times also found it is 58 percent male, with two-thirds being over the age of 60. That's not exactly a recipe for the appreciation of the new, different, or undiscovered, is it? Further data revealed that the branch is further comprised of 6 percent black performers, less than 4 percent Hispanic performers, and less than 2 percent Asian performers.
Considering that the acting branch is the largest in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, this diversity issue is perhaps a bigger and more widespread problem than we initially realized. (Bustle has reached out to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for comment in response to the New York Times' study, but has not received a reply yet.)
While the Academy has claimed that it hopes to double its number of minority members by 2020 — a change which will certainly be welcome, to say the least, and is a good start to helping spark a change — more needs to be done. Of course, it will help — members of color are more likely to be aware of and appreciate mainstream and independent projects written, directed by, or featuring talent of all ethnicities. This is a large part of the uphill battle the Academy faces, but it's hardly the entire story.
As the delightful Samantha Bee recently pointed out, the answer to the diversity problem could be more easily solved if we focused on the right issue. "In the entertainment industry in particular, there are seminars and ... work groups about creating diversity when, really, the f*cking thing you have to do is just hire people," she told the audience during a talk at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Thursday night. "It's not really the most complicated transaction. Find some diverse people and actually give them jobs."
Not only would doing that solve the problem in the industry's eyes — our numbers show we include minorities, so there's no problem! (a ridiculous argument, but undoubtedly one that would be made) — but also means the industry as a whole is likely to improve. No longer with the same old thing fly. Instead, we'll get unique, creative perspectives and stories that will broaden the audience's horizons and likely bring us some of the best entertainment we could possibly hope for. Why this isn't already a major priority is beyond me, but let's hope we see some serious change, and soon.