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Issue 17 Out Now

Has Hollywood finally realized the value of the Black dollar?

Photo Credit- Black Youth Project

Many of us can agree on the Black dollar aspect holding a massive amount of value within Hollywood. Take “Black Panther” as an example; so many people, specifically Black people, packed out theaters, stood in line, and showed a great amount of love to this film, making it 1.3 billion in the box office.

“The U.S. movie and television industry (not including sports or reality programming) is estimated by McKinsey to bring in $148 billion annually and could increase annual revenue by 7% or about $10 billion a year by improving Black representation on-set and on-screen” according to Forbes. This recent study shows how Hollywood could benefit greatly if it had proper representation within the industry.

Black people must be represented from various spectrums, including dark skin representation, plus-sized representation, and LGBTQ+ representation. Often when we turn on our TVs, whether Netflix, primetime, or other streaming services, we cannot see ourselves as a variety.

“In movies, Black representation roughly reflects the demographic makeup of the U.S. population (13.4% Black), but Black talent only makes up 11% of leading movie roles and are often limited to projects related to their race, which see less investment” according to Forbes. As we read more studies like this, Hollywood is doing a deep disservice by not supporting and investing in Black actors and projects because they do not appreciate or see the Black dollar value.

“Support Black projects. Make more money. The math is right there,” said Hollywood showrunner LaToya Morgan, who has worked on hit series like The Walking Dead, Parenthood, and Shameless.

As a consumer who watches predominantly Black projects and films, there is a need for more representation for minorities within the entertainment industry. “In the midst of the nationwide reckoning with racism after George Floyd’s death in police custody last year, major Hollywood studios were quick to release statements of solidarity with Black people. However, critics say they have been slow to make institutional changes to benefit Black Hollywood creators,” according to Forbes.

Actions need to be applied to create change within the industry. This study gives hope to Black creatives within the film industry to not quit getting their opportunities within Hollywood because now everyone sees what is going on.

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