Our work spans many strategies. Consulting regularly on shows, from ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy to Netflix’s Seven Seconds. Collaborating on content rollout with media outlets such as HBO, A&E and AMC Theatres. Producing content with celebrities to rally participation on issues like criminal justice and voting. Leading accountability campaigns, such as canceling COPS on FOX, and pressuring Saturday Night Live to hire Black women both in front of the camera and behind it. Conducting original research to expose critical problems in the industry and build momentum for industry change.
We are dedicated to building power for Black writers, producers and creators. We work to raise industry standards around hiring and representation, resulting in more authentic portrayals of Black people and issues onscreen, more nuanced Black stories, more diversity in writers’ rooms, and real accountability when media companies cross the line.
We collaborate with writers, producers and executives to ensure characters and storylines are multi-dimensional and authentic. We consult on projects at any point in the development process – briefing writers on issues like criminal justice, gentrification, and Black families, to name a few, collaborating on storylines, advising on rough cuts and scripts. We’ve worked with ABC, Netflix, HBO and A&E on series including series like Grey’s Anatomy, Seven Seconds, The Red Line, Surviving R. Kelly, and Blindspotting.
Too often, what we see on screen reinforces dangerous stereotypes of Black people. Our Media, Democracy, and Economic Justice team holds companies accountable for racist content. We worked with A&E on the reality show Generation KKK to rework content that would’ve glorified white nationalism. We persuaded Disney not to whitewash the popular Black character Princess Tiana in the Wreck-it Ralph sequel when they tried to straighten her hair and lighten her skin. We went after Linda Fairstein, the prosecutor who wrongfully incarcerated five children in the Central Park Five case, and got Simon & Schuster to stop publishing her popular crime novels after When They See Us aired.
Major social change has never happened without artists and leaders in pop culture speaking out. We work with top talent in Hollywood and the entertainment industry to leverage their voices – collaborating on videos that educate and move people to action, making powerful statements in the media, and supporting campaigns for racial justice. We’ve worked with Chris Rock and Keegan Michael-Key on voting rights, John Legend and Common on winning justice, Kendrick Sampson on anti-Black violence, and Matt McGorry on leaning into difficult conversations about race.
We commission original, independent research on problems in Hollywood tied to race and gender. Our 2017 Writers' Room report revealed how few shows give voice to Black writers, and almost none have Black showrunners. It sparked a never-before conversation in the industry about how the lack of true diversity behind the camera affects what we see onscreen. Our forthcoming crime TV report will be the first full analysis of the genre, and expose how popular shows reinforce beliefs that perpetuate violent policing and mass incarceration. Research allows us to confront decision makers with real data, and build momentum for change among industry insiders.
We also produce original content that elevates issues important to Black communities, which we promote in the media and to our 1.5 million members. In 2018, we launched our #TellBlackStories podcast and video series to create a forum for Black storytellers to dive into the issues that matter most – opening up Hollywood to more people of color and women, winning justice reform, and fueling a social movement based on joy. We showcase Black writers, actors, directors and changemakers from Ava DuVernay and dream hampton to Common and the cast of Queen Sugar.
Major social change has never happened without cultural influencers leveraging their voices. We work with top talent in Hollywood and the music industry to help them make effective statements in the media, and star in videos that educate people on important issues and advance campaigns that deliver real change for people. We’ve worked with Chris Rock and Keegan Michael-Key on voting access, John Legend and Common on transforming our criminal justice system, Ava DuVernay and Kendrick Sampson on anti-Black violence, Eric Reid on standing up for racial justice, and Matt McGorry on encouraging people to lean into difficult conversations about race.
We commission original, expert and independent research that surfaces problems and solutions with respect to race and gender. Research allows us to confront decision makers with real data, and build momentum for change among like-minded insiders. We focus on how true diversity (or lack of diversity) behind the camera affects the content we see on-screen, as well as other aspects of content development, such as hiring and funding. We also analyze content to assess its accuracy, fairness and impact on society, especially when it comes to representations of Black people and Black culture, and issues that affect Black communities. Our 2017 Writers' Room report helped accelerate a culture shift in the industry with respect to writers’ room diversity. Our 2019 study of 27 crime procedurals is the first comprehensive analysis of the genre.
#TELLBLACKSTORIESWe produce original content and run social media campaigns that elevate issues important to Black communities and storytellers, which we promote across our social channels, content partners and 1.4 million members. In 2018, we launched #TellBlackStories, an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of developing and promoting authentic Black stories, and to demand greater access for Black storytellers. #TellBlackStories also showcases Black writers, actors, directors and changemakers: Ava DuVernay, dream hampton, Stanley Nelson and many up-and-coming artists. Through profiles and videos, they talk about what it will take to truly advance power and equity for all people in Hollywood. Season 1 of the video and podcast series was shot live at Sundance 2019.
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Yet, when it comes to the representation of Black people, Black culture and issues like criminal justice that affect Black communities, far too much of the content Hollywood produces promotes dangerous misunderstandings. This inaccurate and unfair content on-screen ultimately reinforces ideas that hold back progress on racial justice in the real world. It has been proven to affect how Black people are treated by employers, judges, police, politicians, doctors, teachers, neighbors and society at large.
Color Of Change is a racial justice organization powered by more than 1.5 million members, driving change on major issues that affect Black people’s lives. Color Of Change Hollywood is a multi-year initiative to change the rules of media: the written and unwritten rules that shape content development, production, distribution and impact.
2019 Sundance Film Festival
color of change Industry salons