Tag Archives: NBC

Casting & Race, Part 2.5: A Representative Interlude

by Guest Contributor J Chang, originally published at Init_MovingPictures

While it’s still relatively new news, I thought I’d tackle this brief article from Variety republishing the Screen Actor’s Guild annual diversity research. While the headline of the article reads “SAG stats: Diversity lags” and the byline mentions that minorities, seniors and women are underrepresented, the racial breakdown in the article shows the following:

  • 72.5% Caucasian
  • 13.3% African American
  • 6.4% Latino-Hispanic (?)
  • 3.8% Asian-Pacific Islander
  • 0.3% Native American
  • 3.8% Other-Unknown

The article then goes on and adds data from the 2000 US Census, probably as a point of comparison:

  • 73.4% Caucasian
  • 11.5% African American
  • 10.6% Latino-Hispanic
  • 3.7% Asian-Pacific Islander
  • 0.8% Native American

Now, if you simply compare those numbers, it only really seems like Latino/as are considerably underrepresented, if you’re broadly looking at the numbers (and assuming the US population breakdown hasn’t changed much in the last decade). Of course, the overall numbers actually fail to tell the whole picture, because there is no breakdown between the types of roles filled. As background comprises of a large number of actors, does this breakdown include background? How does the breakdown look when you examine supporting actors and leading actors? Recurring actors on television?TheTVAddict.com, upon discovering NBC’s new slogan of “More Colorful” was compelled to create this poster:

Now, to be fair, most NBC shows actually do feature one actor of color somewhere in the regular cast, but how many actors in mainstream film and television actually get top billing? How many actors of color are A-listers? Try counting the number of actors of color in The Hollywood Reporter’s list of bankable stars or James Ulmer’s A-list.

Of the actors in the breakdown, how many, by race, can earn a living from their actor’s wages? How many get steady work?

I have the strong suspicion that we’re going to find that the numbers align less with the census the higher we climb the casting tower.

While I appreciate the attempts from the industry to include more characters and actors of color in mainstream film and television, overall, the industry still a participant in systemic racism. There is still a strong and notable imbalance in representation in the top tiers of casting.

In my next segment I’ll be looking into how mainstream film and television deal with the problem of diversity (alluded to in this segment) as well as how mainstream film can maintain cinematic verisimilitude, cast white actors for character of color and not resort to colorface at all.

Rock Bottom: The Racialicious Review of ‘Heroes’ 4.3

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Eptitle3

“Ink”? The way this week’s episode slogged along, it was more like molasses.

The story, such as it was, mostly revolved around the Delusional Duo: Claire and Peter, who each found themselves being courted and, as usual, fell for it. In Claire’s case, not only did she tell the increasingly creepy Gretchen about her powers – not that she had much of a choice after her swandive out the window last week – but invited her to become her roommate, arguably just days after her former roommate was found dead outside her window.

A note of further explanation: the character of Gretchen has been crafted so ham-handedly it’s hard to get anything other than a Single White Female rip-off out of her interactions with Claire. If Gretchen is meant to ultimately be a villain, the surprise was lost long ago. If she turns out to be a quirky sidekick or a heroine, it’s liable to ring hollow after nuggets of dialogue like “some things are inevitable.”

Tat1As for Peter, at least his manipulation was carried out more skillfully, as The Mysterious Samuel, posing as an injured beneficiary of Pete’s Speedy Samaritan policy, ingratiated himself to Peter for reasons yet unknown. Apparently Sam wants Peter to replace his dead brother at the helm of the Mysterious Carnival. In a curious touch, Samuel follows up on Peter’s advice and visits his posh childhood home, where he’s turned away because the current tenants are having a party. You’d think that a guy as cunning as Sam would figure out that even non-carnival folk aren’t going to just let a guy in the door. But because he’s EEEVIL and Mysterious, he instead throws a sinkhole-sized hissyfit, while branding Peter with the Mysterious Compass Tattoo. At least it was on his wrist and not his lower back.

Continue reading