Black representation in the advertising and entertainment industries stands at a dismal 6% behind the camera. On-screen is similarly lackluster, where a full 33% of the top 100 films n 2019 lacked a single Black female cast member.
P&G’s Grace Janes says the problem stems from systemic bias.
“If you don’t have a diverse background, you create imagery, you create movies, you create advertising that is limited in what you’re showing,” says Janes, brand director on the Global Brand Building Innovation team. “And a lot of times it’s based on stereotypes simply because the person creating it has no idea what their biases or blind spots are.”
Janes and others at P&G are working to change those biases and shine a light on those blind spots through Widen the Screen, an initiative with a broad mandate to increase Black representation throughout advertising and entertainment. The efforts include short films such as “Widen the Screen” and “These Hands” that aim to provide a broader view of Black experiences. The group also teamed up with production company Saturday Morning, as well as Tribeca Studios, to produce four narrative short films told with a runtime of 8:46 — to honor George Floyd’s death — that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival this month. And P&G is making investments in Black owned-and-operated media, including Queen Latifah’s mentoring and development program, Queen Collective.
Watch “These Hands” and “Widen the Screen” below: