An Agent of Change Empowering Diverse Voices in Hollywood

USC Annenberg Professor Stacy Smith 

Smith is the go-to academic for this moment, churning out nearly a dozen reports a year that not only describe the state of inclusion but also offer clear remedies.

“…Dr. Stacy Smith, who reminds us that we have these small victories, but the numbers don’t lie. Her Annenberg [research on representation in Hollywood] is essential for us to remember that there’s still lots of work to do.” – Lorie Bartlett

She first suggested the concept of an inclusion rider in a 2014 THR op-ed; has partnered with Sundance Institute and Women in Film to examine the pipeline from independent to studio filmmaking; and has armed celebrities including Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson with data to compel studios to diversify press access and director ranks. “It’s been an inside-outside approach,” says Smith, who leads a team of seven full-time researchers and 100 students: “Informing the outside world about this problem so that consumers and audiences can demand more, but also working with insiders to give them the information they need to set target inclusion goals and create a path forward.”

“Stacy Smith [of USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative]. Never has the evidence of the need to change been more clear, and the data she’s generated from the work she’s done is the main reason why.” – Franklin Leonard of Black List

Every Studio Exec Should See 

“The films I show my class — Searching for Debra Winger and Color Adjustment — reveal the scope and history of some of the systemic issues and exclusionary practices we are working to change.”

Most Egregious Example of Unconscious Bias I’ve Experienced in Hollywood 

“The idea that bias is unconscious. In Hollywood, bias is frequently conscious. Framing the problem as ‘unconscious’ makes it very difficult for people to take personal responsibility and create change.”

By Rebecca Ford and Rebecca Sun

>Read the original story on The Hollywood Reporter website