The Impact of a Lack of African Americans in the Hollywood Executive Suite

A new study from the Hollywood Bureaus of the NAACP and Motivational Educational Entertainment Productions written by Darnell Hunt examines the status of Black executives in the movie industry.

In the introduction, the author writes that “stereotypic and one-dimensional images generated by Hollywood have an injurious effect on our community. The ingestion of daily distortions about African American life on television and in movies shape perceptions, identities, and behavior. Media content informs and misinforms opinions about Black people, ultimately influencing laws and policies that govern and define our social circumstance with steep psycho-emotional consequences.”

There were no Black CEOs or members of the senior management team at the major Hollywood studios in early 2020, and only 3.9 percent of major studio unit heads were Black. Perhaps greater diversity at the top would change the image of Black America shown in many major films.

One Black executive interviewed for the study noted that “the closer a project gets to being programmed, the higher up the ladder it needs to get approved. And the higher up the ladder you go, the less diverse the industry is overall.”

Another Black executive said: “We should really think about how we need to construct the leadership team in order to ensure that the people greenlighting the film look more like, look representative of the people who attend the film.”




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