Dismantling Harmful Black Narratives in Film

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In a global community where the touch of a button connects everyone to everyone, film and media have an even greater reach and influence on culture. Characters reflect societal norms, behaviours, and, unfortunately, biases. Traditional motifs of violence, over-sexualisation, and stereotypes permeate in the depictions of Black people in media, only reinforcing negative perceptions.

Black storytelling in the UK

A recent article noted that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic creatives account for only three percent of the UK film workforce yet make up 17 percent of the UK’s population. These disparities are spurring a call to increase diversity and inclusion across the industry from top to bottom. 

For example, Sky and DBK studios launched a joint venture entitled, ‘Unearthed Narratives.’ Together, their goal is to amplify the voices of Black talent and share authentic stories. 

One of its participants is a British screenwriter and director, Jessica Magaye. The 24-year-old creative is reimagining Black character depictions. Her most notable work is the sci-fi short film ‘Daddy’s Girl.’ The film tackles mental health, peer pressures on social media, and interpersonal family dynamics, all while keeping viewers entertained and engaged. 

Magaye humanises Black characters with emotional depth and intriguing plot lines beyond antiquated and superficial stereotypes. All of which deeply resonate with audiences. 

Creating a new narrative

If we are to eradicate existing negative motifs, one of the first courses of action is regaining control of our stories. Who is behind the lens matters, and Black creatives like Magaye are ushering in a new wave of thought that benefits us all.

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Hear from Black trailblazers in the film industry at our Leadership Conference

The evening session of our 2022 Leadership Conference is a special “Keynote and Panel: Telling our Story” (Mainstage).

You’ll meet the movers and shakers that are making change within their industries by pushing Black stories, talent and culture to the forefront. Stories that change the narrative. You’ll also hear from those making moves to encourage greater diversity, those that are showcasing our rich history and from the trailblazers breaking milestones.

View the conference programme

Not registered yet? Don’t miss out! The conference will be taking place on the 6th and 7th October and will welcome over 60 inspirational speakers. Register now.

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Looking to improve representation in the media sector?

We work with numerous companies to help improve their diversity, equity and inclusion, for instance recently partnering with BBC Studios to help them with outreach in finding a researcher for TopGear.

If you would like to find out how we can help you achieve this through our jobs board, campaigns or other services, leave your contact details with us and we’ll get back to you with tailored advice.

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