The Hollywood Reporter put together a roundtable of powerful Hollywood producers to talk about a variety of topics, one of them being the proverbial, “diversity in Hollywood.” Lee Daniels was the only person of color on the panel (the other shows represented were The Good Wife, Homeland,The Affair, and The Leftovers). One of the questions asked was, “How much pressure do you feel to populate your rooms with diverse writers, and to cast actors who aren’t White?”
Daniels was the first to answer. He stated that he felt that what he had going on with Empire was a beautiful thing. He said he loved that most of his writers were Black.
“I don’t know what gives me more pleasure, watching my stories unfold or going into a room full of Black people talking for me, saying words, and writing words–I hate White people writing for Black people, it’s so offensive,” he said.
He then said that they go out and specifically look for Black writers, then went around the table asking the producers if they had African-American writers on staff. Some did, and the ones who did had had very few. One man had the nerve to ask Daniels how many Asian American writers he had on Empire as a weak attempt to deflect the topic at hand, but then answered the question by saying that he had no Black writers on his show. Daniels told him that it was unacceptable, and then went in some more.
“What is important is that people of color know that they’re wanted, because y’all done told me that we ain’t wanted so, it’s a beautiful thing.”
That was a light weight read, but effective enough.
Let the church say amen!