Kerry Washington on Hollywood's Diversity Problem

The Frame


The entertainment industry begins the slow process of returning to work. Will there be as Carrie? Washington says a real shift in institutional practices can there be a different and more diverse Hollywood. We know because of the coronavirus. There will be changes in how people do their work. But. What about the work itself? How far will the industry reset? Actually go? This is Hollywood the sequel. Welcome to our new podcast from La Studios. Each week were sitting down with some of the sharpest minds in the entertainment business to talk about where Hollywood might be headed as it returns to work. We'll get into the external changes for production marketing distribution, and with the movie theater business in tatters. What even defines ahead? We'll also explore the biggest question of all. Will there be systemic change that finally corrects the inequalities that may have been acknowledged, but hardly repaired. And that's where we'll begin this first episode with actor and producer. Kerry Washington. You know her from the TV series scandal. We spoke initially in mid-may, and we'll share that conversation in a bit, but after the killings of George Floyd Brianna, Taylor Ahmad Arboretum and the protests against police, brutality and systemic racism that followed we wanted to get carries thoughts on how this moment might affect the entertainment industry and America itself. I think one of the things that is challenging to. METABOLIZE is that. Not, that much has changed for black people in the last couple of weeks. But there's a different response to it. And so I think. The sentiments of the moment that feel revelatory. I don't feel like those feelings belong to me this. This is not a moment of revelation, but I'm watching the revelation. Unfold around me for people. And I'm grateful that that as a not even as a country, but that the world is showing up for black lives. In a different way. But this is what what has been the reality, this level of danger and anger and fear and. Maybe trauma lack of safety like these have been the realities for black Americans since there were black Americans. There are fundamental differences between a moment and a turning point and I'm wondering optimistically even. Is there a way that real change not only in the country, but also in the business that you work in. Can come out of this. I think so. I think I can hope so. You know I mean we're not. None of us have a crystal ball. It'll be the historians that tell us years from now whether this was a flash point a turning point. But I? I it feels it certainly feels for me like something is different, and like we have to be willing to look at ourselves. Regardless of what industry were in. Do you hope comes out of it? What are you hope changes I? Mean what what would you say would mark progress or change? I think a more radical acceptance of Anti Racist, society policies and culture because I think what people are realizing is that it's not enough to just not be racist that because our institutions. Were built. In the fabric of racism because our country was born, you know with. Black Americans being designated a fraction of human being like it's. It's not enough to just not be racist. We have to be actively anti-racist. and for that desire to come from. A deep. Understanding that we all deserve full rights of humanity. Yes all lives matter, but accepting that to be an anti-racist society. We have to affirm that black lives matter. I think that's I. think that's where we're at I think people are finally kind of. That and our institutions need to understand that not just. Interpersonal relationships, it's important that we're having those conversations that our dinner tables in in our classrooms, but also at the highest levels in our systems of government in our systems that are supposedly built for public safety. We have to ask ourselves. Who Do we deem the public? And who do we deem the enemy? so. I, I'm hoping that I'm hoping that that this all of this new. revelatory reflection lends itself to transformation, not just the hearts and minds, but also institutional practices, and those institutions can include you know arts organizations like the theater industry. Because there's this letter Hashtag, we see you which calls out racism in the theater. It signed by people like Sterling K.. Brown is Array Lin Manuel Miranda I. Think you shared it on twitter. What comes out of that and the best possible outcome to me. It seems really obvious like. We look at ourselves to get better and do better. That's the that's the practice of self. Reflection is to ask ourselves how we can do better so I mean even the language of inclusivity and diversity right like when we say that we're committed to diversity its diverse from what we're still centering whiteness as the most important thing and allowing or inviting diversity around that or when we talk about inclusivity. They're still an in out, so we're still centering certain kinds of people and you know maybe in tiny fractions allowing admitting other people to the table, so there's just so much of it that needs to be reexamined and and look at

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