With the efforts of Ava DuVernay and the monumental Academy Award nominations this year, many have declared it a new day for women in television, particularly those behind the scenes. But do those who work in the industry really feel that change?
Power Book II Creator and Executive Director Courtney Kemp got her start working on The Bernie Mac Show and is now showrunner on one of Starz’ most successful franchises. Asked about the progress we’re told is being made in Hollywood on the heels of her NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Drama Series, she told us, “The more women in positions of power that come about, the more of us that there are. The more we should be hiring each other. I feel like there are women out there who don’t want to do that. Who aren’t as invested, but that’s important.”
What’s also key is that those creating opportunities are doing so with the right motives. “It is a better time for us but I am also a little cautious because I feel like some of those changes have happened from shaming people into them and they’re not coming from the goodness of their heart they’re coming from other places and that makes things more difficult for sure,” Kemp adds.
One of the ways that puts women creators at a disadvantage is the inability to fail, says Kemp who admits her journey when it comes to the Power franchise is a unique one.
“I think that they’re willing to give us a shot, but they’re not always willing to give us more than one. This was my first show, Power, I’m very grateful. Power was the first show that I pitched, the first show that I sold. I’m not sure what kind of shot I would’ve gotten if it failed. I’m not sure what my second shot would’ve been if it would’ve been a disaster. Sometimes people are allowed to fail upward, but it’s not women and it’s definitely not people of color. People get a lot of bites at the apple and it’s not usually us.”
Check out our full conversation with Courtney Kemp in the video above. The NAACP Image Awards air tonight across all Viacom networks at 8 pm.