ESSENCE Poll: Do You Take Note of the Black Presence in Movies and TV Shows?
Ben Rothstein

When you go out to the movies or tune into a show, are you looking for faces that look like your own?

According to Deadline, a recent survey conducted by the University of Southern California’s Anneberg School for Communication and Journalism reports that Hollywood is no more diverse now that it was seven years ago.

The study, called “Inequality in 700 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race & LGBT Status from 2007 to 2014,” looked at the top 100 highest-grossing films each year. Plot lines, casting, directing and roles with speaking parts were the focus of the survey.

Professor Stacy L. Smith, author of the study, detailed their findings saying, “Here’s a picture of what we see happening across the entire landscape. I don’t think we’re seeing a great deal of change. I call it ‘an epidemic of invisibility.’ In the top 100 films of 2014, there were 17 films with no black or African-American actors and over 40 with no Asians. Not one film featured a transgender character. And only 21 of the top 100 movies featured a female lead or co-lead.”

The study makes it clear that more often then not it’s hard for minorities to find themselves represented in Hollywood, but are we taking notice or is it considered the norm now?

When you’re channel surfing or headed to the movies, are you looking for faces of color? Do you notice when Black people are absent or are you only focused on the story? Let us know.

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