DECATUR, GA – August 11, 2017 - Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) cohosted a Twitter chat on the importance of diversity in film and media this week with BlackBloggersConnect (@JoinBBC).
Joined by ShortsTV CEO Carter Pilcher (@ShortsTVUS) and award-wining Baltimore filmmaker Mecca Amoni Michele Lewis and her partner Erin Gaddis, Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) and his guests fielded 10 questions around the importance of diversity in film and the media and how to forge change moving forward.
Johnson, an original cofounder of the Congressional Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent (CAST) and Film Diversity, said the chat was a good platform to discuss this important issue. The new bipartisan caucus aims to focus on increasing further opportunities for representation of minorities in the film and television industries.
“Minorities are underrepresented in all key roles both behind and in front of the camera,” said Rep. Johnson. “The motion picture industry and media have the potential to break down barriers and stereotypes. Having open discussions online on this topic helps keep the spotlight on the importance of diversity. I encourage others to engage whether online or otherwise on this very important topic. Just this week, the Academy met and voted for an older, white male to lead the organization that awards the OSCARS. To paraphrase the great Frederick Douglas, progress is never garnered easily, it must be struggled for, fought for, and wrested from the status quo ante. America has long struggled with the idea of diversity and many segments have fought for advancement. It is now time that we see measureable progress. I laud Lewis, Gaddis, and Pilcher for advancing the cause, and I urge others to join and continue in the fight for diversity in film and all industries.”
Lewis and Gaddis’ film – “JustUS: Living with a Criminal Record,” – winner of the Champions for Justice Film Competition – is a six-minute piece on the difficulty of everyday life after serving time in jail. ShortsTV is a the world’s first and only 24/7 HD channel dedicated to short film, including Academy Award nominated short films and is available across the US and Europe.