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Real Talk With Racial Justice Org Color Of Change About Black Life Portrayal On Screen


The content we consume affects our mental health. July is BIPOC Mental Health Month, and Hollywood & Mind spoke to Kelle Rozell, chief marketing and storytelling officer for racial justice organization Color of Change, to find out where the organization is seeing improvements in the representation of black people on screen and where the work will be TV and film industry.

According to a 2021 Viacom CBS study, “Poor representation in the media does have a negative impact on how viewers feel, with nearly 60% of underrepresented people saying it makes them feel unimportant and inappropriate. Neglect or be disappointed,” Rozelle said. “So Hollywood and these other cultural industries absolutely have a responsibility to understand and support an accurate portrayal of black lives.”

Through its Change Hollywood initiative, Color for Change has been “working on multiple levels to advance racial equality, which has a direct impact on the mental health of our communities,” Rozelle said. “Content that depicts these inauthentic representations of Black people and communities is actually harmful. We’ve been working with our partners and content communities to change the narrative and change the rules that affect storytelling.”

The CoC released its first “Normalizing Injustices” report in 2020. The study examined 26 TV shows and detailed “all the ways in which crime television has played a major role in advancing the criminal justice system and the distorted representation of race and genre in our culture,” Rozelle said. “We found that crime television encourages the public to accept the norms of excessive regulation and excessive force, while supporting the exact actions that destroy Black lives.”

A second edition, due later this summer, will feature expanded footage of 74 shows produced by nine different parent companies. Crime shows are just the beginning.

“There’s a huge danger in the way that black people are portrayed in Hollywood. We’re trying to get rid of the stereotypes, the things that might come up in comedy, the tropes that come up. We’re working with companies to identify those who should be in their writers’ rooms — Everyone from showrunners to producers to writers to subject matter experts, so when they’re on, say, a medical show, are you going to have black female doctors there? Talk about their experiences? It’s not just with Harmful interactions with police, but also with the healthcare industry, and how we can save more Black lives by listening to Black patients and having Black representation in doctors’ offices and hospitals,” she said.

“We need to tell these stories in Hollywood to accurately describe what’s going on in the system. We’re asking businesses to invest in the black community, invest in black safety, and be transparent about this report.”

Color of Change’s Accountability Campaign Helps Cancel Fox Series police and put pressure on NBC saturday night live Hire black women in front of and behind the camera.The organization regularly consults on ABC’s series Grey’s Anatomy to Netflix
seven seconds, and has partnered with media agencies including HBO, A&E and AMC, as well as talent agency Endeavor. Rozelle said the evidence was on the screen.

“When it comes to who gets it right, you look at shows that invest in equipping their writers room with the right voice. So when you see black creators like Issa Rae being able to tell stories accurately, we will start to see what an innocuous narrative looks like,” she noted. “AMC has been making self IDs on their sets to make sure they have the right representation and diversity, and you can tell from the shows they’re creating Fear of the walking dead, You do have multiple black leads. “

There’s still a lot of work to be done, Rozell said. “There are still these harmful shows on the air and that hasn’t changed. law and order is one of our programs. We do know that since the murder of George Floyd by the police, key stakeholders in the entertainment industry have come to organizations like Color of Change for help and accountability to move us forward. “

One way the CoC is expanding its messaging is by working with influencers through its ambassador program to rally engagement around issues like criminal justice and voting. unsafe Kendrick Sampson and Coleman Domingo, afraid of the walking deadare two such ambassadors.

“We’re working on a plan to engage these Hollywood ambassadors over a long period of time on a range of issues that may be specific to Hollywood or specific to mental health, depending on their area of ​​interest,” she said.

Hollywood and the Mind is a recurring column that lives at the intersection of entertainment and well-being, interviewing musicians, actors, athletes and other cultural influencers who are expanding conversations and actions around mental health.

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