Still Searching For Black Americans In Media Costs Industry $10 Billion

CBx Vibe:F.U.B.U.” Solange

By Lesley Green-Rennis

  • 2 out of 3 Black Americans don’t feel they see their stories represented on-screen
  • The film and TV industry loses $10B, or 7% every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives

While progress has been made in the portrayal of Black characters in media, the majority of participants in a recent study felt the supply of inclusive content is not meeting the demand. Recent study results show that systemic problems are far from being resolved when it comes to the Black media representation. The film and TV industry loses $10 billion, or 7% every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives.

Why This Matters: Findings of the FOCUS Black: Consumer Engagement 2021 study represent progress while revealing many opportunities. Participants of the study reported seeing Black characters and communities portrayed in positive ways, and having a Black actor in a lead role positively impacts their decision to watch a show or a movie.

However, only slightly more than half (55%) felt they are seeing more Black actors as lead characters in scripted content. Only 51% of participants felt that they are seeing more Black characters and communities portrayed in positive ways. When it comes to news coverage, 46% said they had seen improvement in how Blacks are portrayed.

The media’s role in shaping and reinforcing cultural beliefs and attitudes about race is well documented. “Whoever has the pen in their hand, they get to tell whatever story and whatever narrative that they want,” in many ways, that narrative remains stereotypical when it comes to Black Americans.

Situational Awareness: Building and monetizing culture is very lucrative. Media consumers of color are looking for untold stories, non-stereotypical Black characters, and multi-dimensional and complex characters in all genres. More Black-created content and financial backing of Black-owned media are key to better representation.  

CBx Vibe:F.U.B.U.” Solange

CONTRIBUTOR

Lesley Green-Rennis

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