More Representation is Needed in Hollywood


Jada Cousin

After nearly 100 years of consecutive white princesses, Disney has finally rolled out a Black Ariel. Considering we are in the year 2022, I would think there would be a pleasing public reaction to it. Instead, it was met with complete outrage fueled with anti-blackness. 

Ariel could be taken as a prime example of how important it is to have representation within film and television. Showing more inclusion of people of color in film can cause them to feel more accepted and seen, especially amongst the younger generations of those communities as it provides a positive image for them as they grow up. Though it has been brought up that instead of changing the race of pre-existing characters, film companies should start to dish out new black characters. Thus creating more characters for children to look up to or adding more diversity without changing previous characters’ races. 

However, if that were the case, film companies would have already started to create more new Black leads, princesses, or superheroes. But they haven’t, which only contributes to the cycle, as they can do so.

In mainstream media today it can be quite difficult to find Black actors in television and film as only 11% of them play as leads. It’s concerning considering there are many Black actors in the entertainment industry who are just as talented as their white counterparts but still fail to land these roles. 

Research done by McKinsey & Company shows that with streaming services today there is still an alarmingly low rate of “Black above-the-line talent,” which made up “only 6.6 percent of those roles.” Considering that people are trying to push for more diversity in mainstream media, having only 6.6% of all actors being Black actors and actresses is extremely disappointing. Instead of waiting on white filmmakers to produce and make these films, Black filmmakers need to take responsibility for making new films and shows. In the past year, Black led films and shows have been extremely successful and a big topic in mainstream media.  

Shows and movies like Abbott Elementary and Atlanta show the significance of having Black leads and characters on screen. They are able to portray these characters in a positive light and over the years have gained an immense amount of success within the film industry. 

To take the show Atlanta as a main example, it has been nominated for a whopping 124 awards, which they have received very prestigious names such as the Emmys and the Golden Globes. Of those, they have won 55 different awards, it is no surprise that they are doing well. The public is taking these shows at an excellent rate because they are able to relate to them, they are able to see people on screen that look like them which makes it more enjoyable to watch. 

Representation can be easily achieved if companies are willing to break out of the box of being afraid to show diversity on screen. Though it will take small steps to accomplish the amount of diversity that should be on screen, there should be no excuse as to why there is this little diversity in 2022. Giving Black film writers and leads a chance in Hollywood can bring forth a brighter future for the film industry, and having Black talent can help them go above and beyond.