University of Southern California Study Shows Extent of Black Invisibility in Entertainment

gateway-usc-shield-name-blackA great deal of attention has been paid to the fact that over the past two years there were no Black actors nominated for the Academy Awards. But a new report from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California finds that African Americans are vastly underrepresented in many areas of the entertainment industry.

The report examines 109 major films and 305 television programs in 2014 that included more than 11,000 speaking characters. About 28 percent of all speaking characters were members of minority groups whereas these groups represent 37.9 percent of the total U.S. population. Blacks and other minorities were even less represented among directors, producers, and entertainment industry executives.

Stacy L. Smith, associate professor of communication and lead author of the report, states that “this is no more mere diversity problem. This is an inclusion crisis. Over 20 percent of the content we covered featured no African American characters. It is clear that the ecosystem of entertainment is exclusionary.”

The full report, Inclusion or Invisibility? Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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