POV (Perspective)
Hiring Minorities--Two Years Later--Some Blind Spots
  • Friday, Mar. 4, 2022
Osei Kakari

Two years ago, I penned a POV for SHOOT magazine titled, “It Will Take All of Us To Make A Difference,” a viewpoint that discussed how we can come together to make real change, to include Black and other minorities in the ad industry, most notably on the production side. I thought it appropriate that I write this update having recently celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday. One of my favorite King quotes is, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Times of challenge. That sounds like today’s world on many fronts.

Many creatives reached out to me the last 18 months, sincerely wanting to make a difference. THAT’S PROGRESS. Many agencies have worked towards a more diverse and inclusive industry, hiring more minority directors than ever before. That’s a great start. Not only are agencies working for diversity and inclusion in THEIR workforce, they are now encouraging their production partners to do the same.

But being inclusive should INCLUDE the whole advertising business, agency, production, post, music, etc. Now here’s where we’re falling short. From my perspective creatives are concentrating too much on giving opportunities to one job title, that of director. Agencies seem to want to check only the box on hiring minority directors, but little else. In order for us to collectively make progress, opportunities need to open up for every position, from DP to executive producer to production assistants sweeping up the stage. Agencies should start awarding jobs to not just minority directors but to minority-owned companies as well as to production companies that actively serve and support maximizing inclusion at every position.

Once we have fashioned this robust and inclusive advertising industry, we can work together on getting rid of giving any special consideration to minorities. In this amazing world, circa 2022, everyone now sees themselves as a minority anyway. We all feel powerless in many ways. Whether you’re a white veteran Jewish executive producer, a young Black director, or a female cinematographer, we all feel at times “minoritized.” Isn’t it amazing that some days we all feel like an underdog?

If we all continue to pull together, and not let this moment pass, everyone can wake up to a new day feeling empowered to go after and execute the best work for agencies. According to Statista, worldwide ad spending in all forms will be on the increase until at least 2025. There’s never been a better opportunity to grow a more inclusive industry.

Osei Kakari is founder/EP at production house Contrast Eye in Venice, Calif.

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