Kate Hawkesby: What's driving push for diverse entertainment industry?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 10 Sep 2020, 10:31AM
(Photo / AP)

Kate Hawkesby: What's driving push for diverse entertainment industry?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 10 Sep 2020, 10:31AM

A lot of things have come to a grinding halt in 2020. Air travel, overseas holidays, many weddings and funerals, and yesterday the shocking news that The Kardashians will be no more.

Well, they’ll still exist, just not on their TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians which has been airing the ins and outs of their daily lives for almost 14 years.

I have to admit I don’t watch it, so I can’t profess to being someone who’ll miss it, but it did make me ponder what’s happened to the cult of celebrity and pop culture this year. Remember E News got canned this year too.

It seems as the world gave us all a giant slap in the face and got serious in the form of a global pandemic, the appetite for shallow trivia dissipated. We even looked down the barrel of the queen of the light entertainment, Ellen, getting ‘cancelled’ as her show lurched from crisis to crisis with never-ending stories about poor treatment of her staff. People seemed to be waking up all of a sudden and saying enough is enough.

Even the Oscars is not immune. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences now says ‘in order to be eligible to win Best Picture 2024, a movie will have to pass a strict set of diversity rules.’

So all the goalposts are shifting. People are demanding more and better. The benchmarks are getting higher. Representation and inclusion is moving to the forefront, ‘pop culture vultures’ as the Kardashians have been described, are less enticing and palatable.

The Academy, for example, wants films eligible for Best Picture to meet two of four new standards, one of which is to ‘include people from under-represented racial and ethnic groups, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations or disability groups’

If you thought the Oscars was liberal already, it just went next level.  It'll be hoping to avoid any future controversies like the hashtag in 2015 of #OscarsSoWhite.

But it makes you wonder, what’s the driver behind all of this? What’s the motivation? Is this shift to inclusion and diversity for the right reasons? Is it because it’s the right thing to do, and it’s time?

Or is it because certain industries have been ‘got to’ by the active and very vocal woke,  and they’re running scared or trying to avoid any potential backlash?

In the Academy’s case, they claim it’s about making long lasting and essential change.

So does that have a trickle-down effect?  Who’s reflecting who?  Are industry moves like this merely reflecting society?  Or is the entertainment industry trying to be the beacon for how society should follow?

Is it woke? Or is it just the gradual evolution of humanity?