A brand new report from USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative discovered that solely 5.9% of the 51,159 talking roles within the 1,300 top-grossing motion pictures from 2007-2019 had been performed by Asian American and Pacific Island actors, and that solely 3.4% of these movies had an API lead or co-lead, with solely six motion pictures that includes an API lady in a number one or co-leading position.
Of these 1,300 movies, solely three – 0.002% – had been directed by AIP girls, and none acquired a solo directing credit score for a stay motion top-grossing characteristic movie within the 13 years that had been studied. Asian American and Pacific Islanders make up 7.1% of the U.S. inhabitants.
The knowledge span ends one yr earlier than Chloé Zhao final month turned the primary Asian lady and lady of colour (and second lady ever) to win the Best Director Oscar. Her movie, Searchlight’s Nomadland, additionally gained Best Picture. Zhao is of Chinese first rate.
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The USC report, authored by Dr. Nancy Wang Yuen and Dr. Stacy L. Smith and launched Tuesday, additionally discovered that of the 79 major and secondary API characters throughout the highest movies of 2019, “Portrayals of the API community range from invisible to fully human, with most portrayals falling into the categories of silenced, stereotyped, tokenized, isolated, and sidekicks/villains. The stereotypes still present in top films include the persistent emasculation of API men – 58% were shown with no romantic partners compared to 37.5% of API women without partners – as well as that of the perpetual foreigner, evidenced by non-U.S. accents and use of non-English language. Most troublingly, portrayals of API characters still include violence, death, and disparagement.”
“With the rise of anti-AAPI violence in the United States, on-screen deaths of Asians and Pacific Islander characters are particularly jarring,” Yuen stated. “In the top 100 films of 2019, just over a quarter of Asian and Pacific Islander characters die by the end of the film and all but one death ended violently. This, along with 41.8% of API characters receiving on-screen disparagement – some of which are racial slurs – films can fuel anti-AAPI hate. With over 6,603 hate incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021, Hollywood needs to take responsibility for problematic representations of Asians and Pacific Islanders.”
The report additionally discovered that greater than two-thirds (67.4%) of the 1,300 movies studied fell under proportional illustration of the API neighborhood, and that 39% of these movies didn’t depict even one API character.
“These findings offer more evidence that the epidemic of invisibility continues to persist and with serious consequences,” Smith stated. “Mass media is one factor that can contribute to aggression towards this community. When portrayals erase, dehumanize, or otherwise demean the API community, the consequences can be dire. Without intention and intervention, the trends we observed will continue.”
“People often ask me whether representations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are improving,” Yuen stated. “Unfortunately, when representation looks like tokenism, Hollywood is doing the bare minimum for inclusion. In 2019, 30% of API primary and secondary characters were either one of the only, or interacted with no other API characters on screen. We need to see more than one API character on screen interacting with one another in meaningful ways.”
The lack of API characters general extends to intersectional communities, as nicely. The report discovered that two-thirds of all API characters had been males, and one-third had been girls. Only 15 API characters throughout 600 movies from 2014 to 2019 had been LGBTQ, and none was transgender. Only 1.9% of API characters from the highest 500 motion pictures from 2015 to 2019 had been proven with a incapacity, whereas solely 19.6% of all API girls had been 40 years of age or older. “The image of API characters is predominantly young and largely male, straight, and able-bodied,” based on the report.
The report, which additionally checked out administrators, producers and casting administrators, discovered that of the 1,447 administrators throughout the 13-year pattern, 3.5% had been API, and that solely three had been API girls. Just 2.5% of producers had been API, and solely 3.3% of the casting administrators had been AIP. According to the report, movies with API administrators or API producers featured extra API leads and co-leads than these with non-API administrators or producers. API administrators and casting administrators had been additionally chargeable for casting extra API expertise in talking roles on display screen than non-API administrators or casting administrators.
“Not one API woman has received sole directing credit for a live action top-grossing feature film in the last 13 years,” Smith stated. “Inclusion of the API community thus far has been little more than lip service. Opening up opportunity behind the camera for the API community and in particular, API women, is essential to seeing more authentic, humanized portrayals on screen.”
“In order to reconcile past harm, invisibility, and stereotypes on screen, we first need to confront the hard truths and data,” stated Amazon Studios Global Head of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Latasha Gillespie. “This study is an opportunity for all content creators and media companies to examine and root cause decisions that contributed to our current state, but more importantly drive ongoing accountability in our work.”
“In order to reconcile past harm, invisibility, and stereotypes on screen, we first need to confront the hard truths and data,” stated Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studios’ Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “This study is an opportunity for all content creators and media companies to examine and root cause decisions that contributed to our current state, but more importantly drive ongoing accountability in our work.”
“The numbers speak for themselves – again,” stated actor-producer Daniel Dae Kim. “They are a sobering look at how far the industry still has to go to counter the invisibility of our community onscreen. If anything is to improve, the historic indifference on the part of decision-makers toward increased Asian American representation must go beyond the usual performative rhetoric to actual, demonstrable change.”
“One year ago, our community was erroneously blamed for a global pandemic,” stated UTA companion and TV literary agent David Park. “Now, we see violence against and hatred of AAPI’s reaching unprecedented levels. The words we use, the stories we tell, how we portray people matters. The creative community is uniquely positioned to tell more authentic and inclusive stories that diverse audiences yearn to hear. This effort to document the quantity and quality of AAPI portrayals is an essential starting point for lasting progress in how our community is represented in the mainstream.”