University of Southern California Report Examines Race in the Hollywood Film Industry

In the latest of a series of reports on diversity in the Hollywood film industry, scholars at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, examined the race, ethnicity, and gender of more than 48,700 characters in 1,110 top grossing films during the 2007-to-2017 period.

The data shows that in 2017, about 12 percent of all speaking roles in the top-grossing 100 films of 2017 were Black. This is down slightly from a decade ago. But 20 percent of the 100 top-grossing films had no Blacks whatsoever in speaking roles. There were 43 films in the 100 top-grossing films that had no speaking roles for Black women.

The report also found that Blacks were just 5.2 percent of all directors over the 11-year span. And the percentage of Black directors was lower in 2017 than was the case in 2007.

The study was led by Stacy L. Smith, an associate professor of journalism and communication at the university. Dr. Smith joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 2003. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The full report, Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films: Examining Portrayals of Gender, Race/Ethnicity, LGBT & Disability from 2007 to 2017, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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