Saturday, March 25Welcome

How to publish DEI in Hollywood

In 2020, as protests against racial violence and police brutality erupted nationwide, American businesses responded with an unparalleled wave of financial donations and commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Almost every industry has been forced to consider diversity issues. And for the first time, the business leader seemed ready to take steps towards lasting change, not just lip service.

But two years later, some of these initiatives have faded or are proving to be more complex than business leaders had hoped. “People want this to be resolved quickly,” Orion Pictures president Alana Mayo said during a panel discussion at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on Tuesday. “They wished they had some training and seminars in addition to hiring DEI, but it worked out. [systemic racism]’ said Mayo. “And I hope everyone in this room knows, but they don’t.”

From left: Ebro DardenGlobal Editor-in-Chief of Hip-Hop and R&B at Apple Music. Alana Mayo, President, Orion Films.When Tracy SherrodVice President and Editor-in-Chief, Little, Brown and Company [Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

In Hollywood, the racial riots following the murder of George Floyd have raised awareness, especially regarding how the industry has shaped public perceptions of police and violence against black people through on-screen portrayals, she says. Increased investment in diverse filmmakers and decision makers. Mayo herself was hired to helm her Orion Pictures, a division of her MGM that the studio reopened in 2020, focusing on underrated voices and stories. She said, “The level of representation and the number of people given dollars (which is really the most important measure). [getting funded] It’s also amazing when I first moved to LA 16 years ago,” she said.

But when it comes to reforming an industry with a long history of homogenization, there are no easy solutions. And some of the actions companies and executives took in 2020 were, in hindsight, short-term solutions to broader, systemic problems.

For example, the publishing industry has tried to diversify its position by recruiting new talent into the field, which some believe is not the right approach to fostering a pipeline of talent.

[Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

“Editorially, [publishing is] Tracy Sherrod, executive editor and vice president of Little, Brown and Company, who joined Mayo and Apple Music’s Ebro Darden in a panel discussion, said: “Because you need the skill to persuade someone to give you a million dollars. You need the skill to know how to produce a book. You need the skill to know how to edit a book.”

At the same time, many white editors were tasked with editing more books by underrated authors. Some of them were receiving advance payments that were too high for them to earn. Sherrod said white editors tend to overestimate how well those books will sell and whether white readers will pick them up.

That optimism may have stemmed from the reader’s lack of understanding of books by underrated authors. “I’ve never seen a black book on a shelf,” Sherrod said.

[Photo: Celine Grouard for Fast Company]

Darden agreed that DEI efforts in the workplace do not exist in isolation. “We have to be honest about our colleagues and they have to come home to a very homogeneous community,” he said. I hope to become a conscious and inclusive person.”

On the other hand, he noted that addressing diversity issues in the workplace can also affect how people spend the rest of their lives. “You are learning about various holidays that your child’s school doesn’t teach. [but] I went to a PTA meeting and said, “Hey, we were learning about Juneteenth at work this year, but we don’t do that at school. Why?”

“You come to work and wear a charade because you have to. Inclusion and diversity are trend,“He added, “But if you really want a solution, why not do this at home?”

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