In recent times, there has been a huge shift in the TV and Film industry. From the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag from 2015 to 2020 in which a non-English speaking film won ‘Best Picture’ you could be forgiven in thinking that diversity has started to become the norm everywhere.
It can’t be denied that yes, we are seeing more people on colour taking to our screens, telling their own stories and portraying characters of colour as more than just a side kick but its still not enough. Behind the scenes, teams are still too white and that is having an adverse impact on the screen.
The Bold Type‘s Aisha Dee recently came to Instagram to highlight this issue, explaining that it took three seasons for ‘The Bold Type‘ to hire a black hairstylist. This meant that Dee had no choice but to work with a stylist that did not know how style and maintain textured hair, leaving her to feel less empowered and more like a burden. Seeing more People of Colour on the screen is not enough, more needs to be done.
It’s brilliant that we are able to diversify our screens and to an extent the directors chair but we shouldn’t forget that these two positions don’t make a film or a TV show successful. You cannot boast to be shattering glass ceilings if it shatters on the people who you did not lift up. Hair stylists and wardrobe are just as important, you cannot have POC’s on set without them. Not everyone’s body is the same, nor are they Eurocentric, and that needs to be recognised in all aspects; not just on the camera.
Women are already underrepresented and, if you take intersectionality into consideration, that number drops yet again. Diversity is so much more than including more POC’s. It’s making sure they feel empowered to tell their own stories and live them. The systemic ‘othering’ that POC’s already face should not be added to in so-called decolonised spaces.
Media: we need to do better.