For Women’s History Month, Ladies of Hip Hop (LOHH) and Dance Data Project® (DDP) are coming together to highlight the contributions and lives of women in Hip Hop and ballet that are often overshadowed.
Examining other art forms with historic issues in hiring women: theater, symphonic/classical music, opera. Also including more contemporary fields: lack of women in country music, hip hop, contemporary pop music, and other genres.
11 March 2021
By Rebecca Sun
As Hollywood companies and affiliated organizations scramble to hire diversity experts and strategists as part of their public commitments to inclusion, management consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Co. has applied its analytic expertise to the industry as a whole in a report diagnosing the experience of Black professionals working in entertainment.
Penned by McKinsey partners Jonathan Dunn, Sheldon Lyn and Ammanuel Zegeye and consultant Nony Onyeador, Black Representation in Film and TV: The Challenges and Impact of Increasing Diversity declares that collective, system-wide action is imperative for reform. “In any given week, let alone an entire career,” the report’s authors write, “a professional working in Hollywood might have to traverse multiple separate entities — agencies, unions and guilds, studios, networks, production houses, financiers, festivals, critics and awards establishments.” Because of the industry’s unique structure of “tight-knit, interdependent networks,” “small and informal” work settings and “temporary and contract-based” work, “a single company’s efforts to change the racial dynamic inside its own four walls can do only so much for the entire ecosystem.”
The report comes eight months after McKinsey declared in July 2020 that it would devote $200 million in pro bono work to advancing racial equity and Black economic empowerment. The consulting firm, which last month published Race in the Workplace: The Black Experience in the U.S. Private Sector, set its sights on Hollywood after The Black List founder Franklin Leonard (a former McKinsey analyst) reached out to the company and put it in touch with the BlackLight Collective, an informal group of 90-plus Black entertainment industry leaders who have quietly been working behind the scenes to support the community and effect tangible reform.
“Major media companies pay McKinsey to help them navigate difficult business situations,” Leonard tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the significance of this report is McKinsey’s reputation as a corporate entity squarely focused on business efficiency. “So why not get the people that they normally pay to do this work, to tell everybody this is what the reality is, this is how much money you’re leaving on the table, and this is the way forward?”
Drawing from research both qualitative (more than 50 one-on-one interviews with Black and non-Black industry participants) and quantitative (a compilation of studies from UCLA, Nielsen, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Variety and more), the McKinsey report establishes a familiar statistical foundation that finds Black professionals proportionately underrepresented both on- and offscreen (the authors note that “the prominence of certain films and TV series with Black leads obscures [that] fact”).
However, one original finding is likely to have even the most jaded and change-resistant industry gatekeepers take notice: The McKinsey report estimates that the $148 billion film and TV industry is leaving more than $10 billion in annual revenue on the table by not resolving its inequity issues when it comes to Black inclusion — a potential loss of 7 percent. This estimate is based on the consulting firm’s projection of profits in a more equitable ecosystem, one that has “[closed] the representation deficit for Black off-screen talent, [achieved] production and marketing budget parity, and [given] Black-led properties equal international distribution.”
Read the full article here.
14 March 2021
By Whitney Perry
“Can you be an athlete? You, pregnant? You, a mother? That depends,” the short film titled “Toughest Athletes” begins. Posted on Nike Women’s Instagram page on March 14, the ad goes on to define the term as it cuts between a group of mothers in various stages of pregnancy and postpartum journeys, including Serena Williams and Olympia, USWNT soccer player Alex Morgan, and track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Perri Shakes-Drayton, Nia Ali, and Bianca Williams.
“What is an athlete? Someone who moves? Sounds like you,” the narrator continues. “Someone who gets it done, no matter what? You do that. Someone who listens to her body. Also you. Someone who defies gravity. You. Someone who deals with the pain, hits her limit, and pushes past it. Pushing, pushing, pushing. Someone who earns every single win. You, you, you. So can you be an athlete? If you aren’t, no one is.”
Read the full article here.
8 March 2021
By Ben Sisario
The latest study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that women’s representation in music has not improved in the last decade.
Three years ago, an academic tallied up the performers, producers and songwriters behind hit songs, and found that women’s representation fell on a scale between, roughly, poor and abysmal.
The starkness of those findings shook the music industry and led to promises of change, like a pledge by record companies and artists to consider hiring more women in the studio.
But the latest edition of that study, released on Monday by Stacy L. Smith of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, has found that the numbers for women in music have mostly not improved, and in some ways even gotten worse.
Among the findings of the study, based on the credit information for songs on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 chart for each year since 2012, is that last year women represented 20.2 percent of the performing artists of the year’s top songs — down from 22.5 percent in 2019, and slightly below the nine-year average of 21.6 percent.
Of the 1,797 artists behind the 900 songs on those charts — representing solo performers as well as members of duos and groups — there were 3.6 men to every woman, according to the study, which received funding from Spotify.
To read the full article, click here.
By Kate Silzer
13 February 2021
In a powerful 2019 essay in Artforum, Hannah Black, Ciarán Finlayson, and Tobi Haslett made the case that artists who were slated for exhibition in the 2019 Whitney Biennial had a moral obligation to withdraw their work in protest of the then vice chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Warren B. Kanders. Kanders had made himself very rich in part through his company, Safariland, which manufactures, among other weapons and police equipment, teargas used by governments to quash civil protests around the world. The authors cite as historical precedent the New York Art Strike Against Racism, War, and Repression, which kicked off in 1970 after Robert Morris closed his own Whitney exhibition in response to “the killing of students at Kent State, the suppression of the Black movement, and Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia.”
In May 1970, groups of activist artists and members of establishment art organizations gathered together in advance of this strike. Among those represented was Women Artists for Revolution or W.A.R., a feminist outgrowth of the Art Workers’ Coalition (A.W.C.), an organization fighting for racial and economic equality within the New York art scene. Cindy Nemser, an art critic and member of W.A.R., reported on the event for The Village Voice, writing that “neither Morris’s brand of moral indignation nor his proposals were strong enough for all those present.” W.A.R., along with the Art Students Coalition, the A.W.C., and Artists and Writers in Protest, voiced “dissatisfaction with what they considered rather mild palliatives.” This article is one of many primary sources compiled in A Documentary HerStory of Women Artists in Revolution, first published in 1971 and reprinted in 2021 by Primary Information.
W.A.R. existed for a brief yet prolific period, from 1969 to 1971. The group ignited a robust movement against gender discrimination within, and widespread exclusion from, New York City’s patriarchal art industry, particularly by galleries and museums who saw art made by women as inherently illegitimate and therefore ineligible for serious consideration. W.A.R. set out to change this.
Read the full article online here.
By Julia Jacobs
19 September 2019
Over the past decade, there has been a sense in the art world that gender equity was on the horizon: Emerging female artists were landing high-profile solo shows, museums were staging women-themed exhibitions, grants were being awarded to boost female artists, and long-neglected artists were being given overdue recognition.
This assumption of progress is being sharply challenged by new data showing that between 2008 and 2018, only 11 percent of art acquired by the country’s top museums for their permanent collections was by women. And contrary to any hope that acquisitions of artworks by women are inching upward, the percentage remained relatively stagnant, according to the data, released on Thursday.
The new analysis was by Artnet, an art market information company, and “In Other Words,” a weekly podcast and newsletter produced by Art Agency, Partners, an art advisory firm that was acquired by Sotheby’s.
“The perception of change was more than the reality,” said Julia Halperin, the executive editor of Artnet News and one of two lead authors on the report. “The shows for women were getting more attention, but the numbers actually weren’t changing.”
Read the entire article here.
1 February 2021
Year beginnings beg for our attention. How do we account? Given the threat of COVID-19, these routine re-evaluations take on a darker pall. If I died, how would I be remembered, and by whom? I consider this from the perspective of one who has worked the feminist homage.
For the last 30 or so years, I have interviewed or conversed with members of my own art and art activist communities. Three years ago, I published an interview with Carolee Schneemann concerning her major career retrospectives. We talked about gender, ecology, and militarism, about her coming into attention at that (late) moment of her life: “I’ve had wonderful assistance and amazing teams at the museums. The confidence, the devotion of the institution — it is just amazing. But part of me isn’t there. Part of me is like, ‘What happened? I can do anything and they like it now? This matters?’ I’m very divided.”
At that time, I also spoke with Agnès Varda and Barbara Hammer. These three great artists were all around 80 when we spoke; I was in my mid-50s. Each died shortly thereafter. They were enjoying the recognition of their careers, but each was “divided” in her own way given how late-in-coming this attention was. In previous conversations in the 1990s, Schneemann and Hammer, then about the age I am now, had focused upon a related preoccupation: a definitive lack of support, how they were not seen (enough), and how this had stalled and affected their careers.
Read the full story here.
DDP ally and choreographer Nicole Haskins shares her thoughts on what is holding women in ballet back from gaining access to the infamously male-dominated leadership positions.
By Eva Recinos
14 December 2020
There are two major aspects of being any type of creative person, in my experience: the challenge of creating the thing and the challenge of getting it seen. If you’re ready to dedicate more time to your craft and put yourself out there, let’s get started.
1. First Steps
To keep this brief, I am focusing on four key areas that can help you get your work seen, supported, and funded: grants and fellowships, residencies, competitions, and social media. By no means an end-all be-all guide, these tips focus on resources for emerging to mid-career creative people.
Here are some basic things you’ll want to gather:
- Your bio
- Samples of your work (images, audio, writing clips, etc.)
- Project description (if you have a specific project in mind)
- Current mailing address
- Website or online portfolio
- Social media handles
Read the full guide here.
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