Representation is more than a question of visuals and aesthetics. It is about who gets to see themselves on screen and work behind the scenes. The matter of representation is a deeper symptom of an unequal society. Collectively, there is still a long way to go, but there are ways to make strides.
The importance that diverse representation holds on screen and in the media is an established and indisputable fact. A recent study carried out across fifteen different European countries by ViacomCBS has shown that globally 78% of people "believe it is important that TV shows and movies offer diverse representation of lots of different groups and identities". This feeling is strongest in respondents with a mixed heritage or from marginalised ethnic groups with a percentage around 85% and among black people the number climbs to 91%. Lack of representation or poor representation makes these communities "feel unimportant, ignored, or disappointed". The study also showed that spectators are aware off-screen diversity needs to improve as well for on-screen representation to improve.
At the screening of the documentary How It Feels To Be Free organised by the American Embassy as part of the "American Film Showcase", Journal was able to speak with its director Yoruba Richen, members of the organisation WeBelong and young women participating in their "PowHer" initiative about the importance of representation on and off screen.
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