The stories, they are changing.
We are now seeing more and more companies and filmmakers bringing the spotlight on the experiences of People of Color (POC). It’s a Diversity and Inclusion trend that’s influencing the content we consume.
Films like “Blackkklansman”, “Crazy Rich Asians”, and “Us”, have captured good box office and are paving the way for new filmmakers to tell stories of underrepresented minority groups.
In an exciting development to the animation genre, Sony Pictures Animation recently picked up the Kickstarter launched film, “Hair Love”, directed by Blackkklansman Exec Producer – Matthew A. Cherry. Sony Animation President Kristine Belson told Deadline “In the past year, it has been very clear that audiences have been yearning to see fresh stories that are universal and culturally authentic.” The animated feature will offer us a heartfelt look at the relationship between a father and daughter and the celebration of hair in the African-American community. Cherry highlights that “This story was born out of seeing a lack of representation in mainstream animated projects, and also wanting to promote hair love amongst young men and women of color.” If Cherry’s empowering story of self-love creates love at the box office it will foster further motivation to create a wider range of diverse content.
Another case study for this cause has taken place in the superhero genre as films like “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Marvel” have successfully challenged the stereotype that women are sidekicks and not leads.
Discussions sparked by these fictional films have raised awareness of the inequality and lack of representation that exists in the real world. With Captain Marvel breaking through the $1billion barrier at the Box Office, the first female-led superhero movie to do so, these films are proving they aren’t just a great idea but great business!
At UpperDiamond, entertainment is one of our targeted industries and so is venture capital and of late we are seeing real progress even in that stodgy world. As reported by Recode.net, our friend and the founder of Backstage Capital – Arlan Hamilton makes the point that to level the playing field you gotta show up with the money. So, she has been raising funds for underrepresented founders, with a focus on women, people of color and LGBT founders through what she likes to call the “IT’S ABOUT DAMN TIME Fund”.
From our world view, she is a real-world superhero!
Serena Williams a Superhero on the court, in the court of fashion and now in the realm of venture capital has launched her own firm Serena Ventures with a strong commitment to empowerment and diversity and, of course, doing what she is so good at – winning!
Each of us can step up in little and big ways. We do this both personally, as a member of the board of advisors for @StartOut, an organization focused on supporting the LGBTQ community to become entrepreneurs, and as a company where we are vocal ambassadors of implementing real #diversityandinclusion through our work creating diverse stories that empower behaviour change, brand marketing, and content creation. Whether creating new businesses or new narratives on screens of all sizes these stories have impact that will inspire founders, marketers, and storytellers to celebrate our diverse culture while supporting the aspirations of the next generation of leaders.