Over the last few years Hollywood has been making a stronger effort to be more inclusive. Since the creation of the 2015 hashtag #OscarSoWhite —a cultural movement that spotlights the lack of diversity in Hollywood— Hollywood has been attempting to restructure the entertainment industry to be less homogenous.
Ava DuVernay has been one of the leading Black voices in Hollywood, advocating consistently for the incorporation of more people of color behind and in front of the camera of Hollywood productions. DuVernay is continuing to represent for Black people and people of color, creating a platform that will link qualified members of the majority-minority community with major studio networks who are looking to hire.
Inspired by the ironic yet strong friendship between herself and the Chairman of Warner Bros. Television Peter Roth, DuVernay’s platform ARRAY CREW will give aspiring producers and directors the ability to build relationships similar to hers and Roth’s.
DuVernay tells The Los Angeles Times, “I’ve never had the experience of being so closely connected with someone who’s probably, just on paper, the polar opposite of me — not a woman, not Black, not my age and certainly not anyone with as much power as Peter has,” says DuVernay. “It serves as a model for the kinds of relationship[s] that we can be in, in our industry.”
The “Queen Sugar” executive producer has always intentionally made sure to hire diverse crew members for major productions, including big budget films like “A Wrinkle In Time.” While major networks aren’t obligated to diversify their film crews, Array Crew will make it easier for film studios that are looking to practice inclusive outreach.
“I’m not saying you have to hire the woman or the person of color, but you’ve got to interview a woman or person of color; you can’t just bring all your friends, all your white men friends from the other show. You’ve got to show me that for every single position on your crew on your department, that you have looked at someone else that you haven’t looked at before.” DuVernay told The Los Angeles Times. “I saw for the first time [that] maybe it’s not all, “I’m trying to keep you out.” It’s just, you don’t know how. You don’t know where to look. You don’t know who to ask. … Maybe the fight is to help them; help them understand how to do it. And that’s something to wrestle with because do I want to take time out of my creative space to aid in the forward movement of other people and in the psychological progress of other people as it pertains to race and gender? Not really. But if someone doesn’t stop and do it, how does it get done?”
Array Crew was created through ARRAY Alliance, the nonprofit portion of DuVernay’s film company Array. Roth will further help the development and success of Array Crew by helping secure prominent studio networks like Sony, Netflix and Disney.
“What I hope to do is to be able to look back a year, two years, five years from now and see that this brilliant initiative will become the norm that we won’t have to track statistics because it just is that you’ll look at a crew and you’ll see a wide array, forgive the pun, of faces, of perspectives, of people that represent much more effectively the country that we live in and the world that we live in,” Roth tells The Los Angeles Times.
Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Roth and DuVernay refuse to let a pandemic stifle inclusive hiring practices.
“There’s an opportunity here to slide back or to catapult forward, DuVernay told The Los Angeles Times.” “We know that nothing will be the same, right? This is the time. We’re in the gap. And so our goal is to provide this tool so, “No, no, no, don’t, no, you’re not going back, we’re not gonna let you … keep moving; keep moving forward,” DuVernay continued.
ARRAY CREW will launch sometime in 2021.