Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis says it is because of fear that Hollywood refrains from giving projects about people of colour the importance they deserve.
At an Inclusion Summit here, Davis and her husband Julius Tennon spoke about the importance of taking a firm stance about fostering inclusive content, reports variety.com.
Asked why executives and casting agents in Hollywood still refrain from giving projects about people of colour the same attention as those toplined by non-person of colour, Davis said: “Fear”.
The “Widows” actress echoed the sentiments of many participants throughout the day, which was that the “people in power” were the ones who needed to make the change.
“They’re not being asked those hard-hitting questions,” Davis said.
Tennon advised people of colour to “just ask” what they want.
“My momma always told me ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, so guess what, if you’re in deals with companies you just have to ask. It’s about the project and about doing something big, it’s called development for a reason, things aren’t sussed out all the way,” Tennon said.
Davis explained how she doesn’t believe inclusion riders are an entirely adequate solution to the diversity problem in the industry.
“I do not want to be a part of any piece of paper that has to force people to see me.”
Another problem she identified was the reliance on precedents in Hollywood’s history for diversity and using their lack to “dictate our storytelling in the present”.
“If you look at the past and look at storytelling where there’s a huge deficit in terms of our voice and our presence, that’s not a good place to start,” she said.