Issa Rae Challenges Industry to Meet Diversity Mandates – The Hollywood Reporter

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Issa Rae has called out an entertainment industry she said is still just paying “lip service” to confronting bias and encouraging diversity.

Speaking at a spirited panel discussion at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, the Insecure creator and star challenged producers to follow her lead, noting that she mandates that all of her sets have to be at least 60 percent diverse.

“For me it’s about making the changes on my end,” Rae said. “Now I have the mandate of making sure my sets are 60 percent diverse, and that comes from realizing my own power. I can say no to a job if the crew is all white, which happens all the time. How is this still happening, and how do you want me to be your spokesperson for diversity when the people behind are not diverse?”

Rae challenged the global marketing and advertising industries to follow her example, saying it was important to “ave these conversations so that they can educate themselves and spread the word. We task diverse people to spread the word about diversity, when we know what it is already [my] challenge is: hold people to task. Make sure these conversations are being had across the board.”

Her goal, Rae said, was to create a “pipeline” for people from diverse background to rise through the entertainment industry.
“We don’t get promoted often, and seeing those people give opportunities to others, I’m most proud of that,” she noted.

For her next project, Rap Sh!t, a Miami-set show about two high school girls who join together to form a rap band, Rae said it was important to have “locals behind the scenes, including writers” contributing. “For people to be immersed in the story, it has to be authentic.”

Rae was speaking on a Cannes Lions panel entitled ‘The Mirror Only Has One Face’ alongside IBM senior VP Bob Lord and Ogilvy global COO Liz Taylor.

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