My skin is so precious, but do people see me correctly? I always wonder why I have not seen too many people like me on my screen. It troubles me; it worries me. I cannot go on anymore racking my brain because I feel that I am not scared about or looked after. I feel that as a black woman I am continuously disrespected because I am not well represented. It is like my word does not count. As a lighter-skinned black woman, I am aware of my privilege.
I feel the need for my representation and the representation of darker black women because I feel that even though Hollywood has come a long way, there are still many things that need to be worked on.
Here are some stats from the diversity report released by UCLA. Learn more here!
Less than 2 to 1 among film leads (27.6 percent), Less than 3 to 1 among film directors (14.4 percent), Less than 3 to 1 among film writers (13.9 percent), Less than proportionate representation among total actors (32.7 percent), Greater than 4 to 1 among studio heads (9 percent). This is what I mean by Hollywood still has a long way to go.
Look I do not need validation from the film and television industry, but I do need accurate representation. Seeing yourself being portrayed inspires many. As much as we want to be known, we want to be known for positive things. I have seen too many black characters on TV be overwritten or not well understood because writers felt that they needed to be “ghetto” to get the point across about black women’s personalities. As I said, things have changed, we are seeing more black characters on our screens and the industry is putting out more movies with minority characters that are leads but the battle is far from over. I plan on emerging into the industry making sure that minorities are represented whether it’s behind the screen on in front.
The best way to do that is to start on paper. I plan on making sure that my characters are the best representation of the people who are in my life. I plan on writing for all the black women and girls out there. The stories that I tell stem from my experiences as a black woman so doing that through characters play a big part in my work.
Bridget Johnson is the president and co-founder of Dare to Dream Productions. She writes and directs thought-provoking films that inspire others to follow their dreams.
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