Home Entertainment Hollywood could make an extra $10 billion a year if it stops undervaluing black-led movie projects

Hollywood could make an extra $10 billion a year if it stops undervaluing black-led movie projects

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There is no doubt that Hollywood has for many years had a race problem, with far too much power resting in the hands of a predominantly white and male elite. A lot of change has happened over the years though, with many studios ramping up efforts at creating diverse workplaces and ensuring that there is far greater representation across all gender and race groups. It turns out though it’s not just the right moral choice for the industry to make, but it could also potentially be an extremely profitable one if a recent study is to be believed.

According to the McKinsey & Company group via Deadline, it is claimed that Hollywood productions could earn up to an extra $10 billion a year by dismantling its structural racism and embracing diversity. To make this conclusion, the company partnered with the BlackLight Collective (a coalition of Black artists and executives in the media business) and analysed more than 2,000 films, as well as interviewed professional writers, actors, directors, and producers. The research demonstrated that Black-led projects receive much less funding than their white counterparts, even though evidence proves that they tend to outperform other ventures in terms of recouping their original investments.

Those are certainly interesting findings of how well many black projects tend to do at recouping budgets and making profits, though I will admit there is a lot of conjecture in that analysis. Still, there is no hiding the truth that there is a large audience looking for content that they feel they can relate to and in embracing that, studios should definitely be able to lure bigger audiences and make more money.

The study revealed a lot of big shocking truths like how in the industry 87% of television executives and 92% of film executives are white, with less than 6% of all writers, directors, and producers being black. It’s not just about the numbers though, which are improving, but also attitudes where a black tax still exists, where most black creators struggle to land financing for their projects and most who make it end up having to come up with some of the financing themselves to get going.

This news doesn’t put Hollywood in a good light at all, though it’s also something that we’ve known for a while.  To fix it though it’s not just a matter of casting with more diversity and getting awards shows to follow suit but finding a platform for raising up creative talent in the industry and importantly, providing fair and equal access to financing. It will take many years to see things change, but as long as the industry remains aware of these problems and looks to address them, we can see progress.

Last Updated: March 15, 2021

7 Comments

  1. konfab

    March 15, 2021 at 09:03

    Who counts as black?

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      March 16, 2021 at 06:50

      It really depends, in the US, you can actually self-identify whatever you like, of course during the Jim Crow law days, you were black if you had a black ancestor somewhere on your family tree. Their whole classification system was based on what was called the “one-drop-rule”. The Spanish had something similar in latin America and in Mexico, but they really went crazy, where you had subdivisions based on percentages of black or indian ancestry.

      In South Africa (or at least in the beginning when the Cape colony was being established), they didn’t use the one-drop-rule because many of the stammoeders for many of the initial Afrikaner/boer familes were generally slaves (so either Malay, Malagasy or Khoisan), so the classification was purely based on whether you looked white. If you looked white, you were white. Which, let to people reclassifying themselves during the early days of Apartheid.

      That didn’t mean you didn’t have racism back then, there’s a really interesting bit on Simon van der Stel (who was the son of a freed slave woman from either India or Madagascar), and because he was a bit “tanned”, Adam Tas routinely referred to him as the “black brood among us”. Remember Tas hated the VOC, and definitely disliked van der Stel.

      Reply

  2. Original Heretic

    March 15, 2021 at 10:14

    Talent is talent. If something is good, it needs to get out there.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      March 15, 2021 at 13:29

      Agreed. Talent doesn’t have colour.

      Reply

  3. Mandalorian Jim

    March 15, 2021 at 14:21

    I don’t want to be that guy …but… you are aware that the African American population only makes up 13% of the overall US population? There’s a need for representation and then there’s setting unrealistic representation goals, which can never be achieved, unless you disenfranchise the majority.

    But, here’s another issue to consider Hollywood is well represented by Jewish Americans, who themselves are a minority. So, what exactly is being asked here? Disenfranchise one group over another on the basis of skin colour? Play off two minority groups in the US? Level the playing field? But, if you’re 13% of the total population can you really demand +40% representation? And what about hispanics? They’re a growing minority group, why not more hispanic representation?

    Reply

    • Dee ham

      March 16, 2021 at 05:35

      I also don’t want to be “that guy” but this is race/gender/LGBTQ+ politics, thinly veiled as ‘equality’ and ‘compassion’. These people don’t care about facts if it interferes with their bottom line.

      Reply

  4. Jawaka

    March 15, 2021 at 16:54

    So go make a black led movie and make 10 billion dollars…

    Reply

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