Hollywood Loses Billions Per Year by Undervaluing Black-Led Projects

BRIDGERTON GOLDA ROSHEUVEL as QUEEN CHARLOTTE in episode 105 of BRIDGERTON Cr.
LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX / LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Economists have often noted that discrimination isn’t just wrong —  it’s economically inefficient. It costs employers money to screen out potential workers and end up with people who are less-qualified in the job. It may lead to other major losses as well. Deadline reported that in Hollywood,  undervaluation due to discrimination has led to an appalling amount of lost revenue. 

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Research by McKinsey & Company and the BlackLight Collective, an organization of Black people working in Hollywood, found that the industry could gain up to 7% more in revenue, or $10 billion annually, from addressing racial inequalities. 

The report noted that Black-led projects tend to be underfunded, which may be why they show a higher return on investment than other projects. With fair funding, these projects could become worth even more in the marketplace. Increasing the number of productions with Black talent and Black themes could expand the audience, too. In recent years, audiences have shown a clear preference for works that have a diverse cast. 

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Other issues include young Black actors being given fewer chances to succeed than white performers, which limits the amount of talent available. The proportion of off-screen talent of color is considerably smaller than the proportion of actors. Black producers and Black stars often pull in Black crew members who are not given opportunities by others. The complexity of the industry, role of networking, and number of partners involved create more barriers that allow conscious and unconscious biases more room to play than in other industries.

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The hope is that highlighting these inequalities will lead to change and create a more equitable environment in Hollywood. In turn this will lead not only to more opportunities for qualified workers, it will also lead to more works that audiences want. That’s good for everyone.

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About the Author

Ann Logue is a writer specializing in business and finance. Her most recent book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide: Options Trading (Alpha 2016). She lives in Chicago.

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