progress report: Diversity in American Entertainment

Diversity in American entertainment has always been lacking. Many television shows and movies have mostly white actors and white male directors. A majority of entertainers who have won Oscars, Grammys and other awards are white.

However, diversity in American entertainment has slowly increased over the years.

Diversity in Movies

As of 2018 and 2019, movies have become more diverse, casting women and people of color to act in films. Researchers found that in 2018, “41.0% of lead roles went to women and 26.6 to minorities. And among all acting roles in those films, 40.4% went to women and 30.9% to people of color” (Newsroom). 

Newsroom also reports that in 2019, “Women had 44.1% of lead acting roles” while “People of color made up 27.6% of lead actors and 32.7% of all film roles in 2019.” 

So, compared to previous years, diversity in movies has improved in depicting characters that are persons of color.

In 2011, The Opportunity Agenda observed how black males were portrayed in movies. Researchers discovered that “images in the media have a negative impact on black perceptions of self” by portraying black male characters with “negative media stereotypes” such as “thugs, criminals, fools and the disadvantaged.” The only role models that represented black males were “rap stars and NBA players.” 

It appears that the American movie industry is beginning to move past these harmful stereotypes. In 2018, the Marvel Cinematic Universe made Marvel superhero films more diverse by releasing the amazing action-filled movie “Black Panther.” 

Before “Black Panther,” the Marvel Universe mainly consisted of white male superheroes, such as Iron Man and Captain America, and only had two white female superheroes, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. 

The only black superheroes in Marvel movies before Black Panther were War Machine and Falcon,  first introduced in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” These two heroes are minor characters, partners and friends of Iron Man and Captain America. 

“Black Panther” is the first African American superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Besides having only two white male actors, the cast of “Black Panther” mostly consists of people of color. 

 People need movies like Black Panther because it is important that everyone feels represented. The American entertainment industry needs to create characters that are good role models that people can admire. 

In 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will create three diverse superheroes in the movie “The Eternals.”

Actor Brian Tyree Henry, an African American male, will play  Phastos. Don Lee, who is an actor from South Korea, will play Gilgamesh. Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who is from Pakistan, will play Kingo. 

 Chloe Zhao, a woman of color, will be producing, writing and directing “The Eternals.”

Diversity in TV Shows

Like movies, diversity in television shows has also improved. In 2018 and 2019, “Minority actors were almost proportionally represented (35.0%) among lead roles in scripted cable shows” (Newsroom).

Newsroom also reports that “Women actors achieved parity in lead roles of digital scripted shows (49.4%) and almost did so among lead roles in scripted cable shows (44.8%).” 

For example, the sitcom “Fresh Off The Boat,” stars a Taiwanese-Chinese American family. The show aired from 2015 to 2020 and ran for six seasons. 

The show, which was quite successful, was “The first network TV comedy with an all-Asian cast since Margaret Cho’s ‘All-American Girl’ premiered 20 years earlier” (AP News).

Diversity in Music Award Shows

Music award shows have also taken a step towards diversity ever since the South Korean band BTS won the 2017 Top Social Artists Award at the Billboard Music Awards. 

BTS has won several awards from the BMA’s such as the 2018 and 2019 Social Artist Award, the 2019 Duo/Group Award and the 2020 Social Artist Award. They are the first South Korean boy band to win an American music award. 

BTS is said to be the “first group since The Beatles to score three number one albums in less than a year” (SCMP).

BTS’s success has opened a door filled with opportunity to not only other South Korean musicians, but to other international musicians. 

Diversity in Video Games

Movies, tv shows and music award shows are not the only forms of American entertainment that are becoming more diverse. There are many video game characters that are a person of color or are a part of the LGBTQ.

Blizzard Entertainment tries to create diversity and inclusion in their games by creating games and characters that appeal to everyone.

Blizzard Entertainment stated that they are a company that is “committed to creating an inclusive culture rooted in our core values that unlocks the power of diversity to deliver the most epic games and entertainment.”

Many characters in the game “Overwatch” are a person of color. There are also two characters part of the LGBTQ community.

Lucio, Genji, Mei and Sombra  are a few characters from the game who are persons of color. Tracer and Soldier 76 are from the LGBTQ community. 

Why is Diversity in Entertainment Important?

According to Data Commons, there are around 7,594,270,356 billion people who are currently living on Earth. In America, the population is around 328,239,523 million, with each person holding their own opinions, beliefs and personalities.

According to the United States Census, 76.3% of the population is white, 18.5% is Hispanic or Latino, 13.4% of the population is Black or African American, 5.9% is Asian, 2.8% Two or More Races, 1.3% is American Indian and Alaska Native and 0.2% is Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

Many Americans are a person of color, but there are not many characters that are a person of color. Having diversity in entertainment is important because it represents all Americans and creates more role models that will inspire people. 

The American entertainment industry has improved by creating more diverse characters, but there is still more room for improvement. 

In 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will create three diverse superheroes in the movie “The Eternals.”  Chloe Zhao, a woman of color, will be producing, writing and directing “The Eternals.”

Actor Brian Tyree Henry, an African American male, will play  Phastos. Don Lee, who is an actor from South Korea, will play Gilgamesh. Actor Kumail Nanjiani, who is from Pakistan, will play Kingo. 

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