Change The Lens urges the commercial and music video industry to diversify its workforce and take its pledge
Founded by over 100 Black creators in the film and advertising sector, the new pledge seeks to address racial inequality in production.
- Jyni Ong
- 10 July 2020
Change The Lens is a new industry pledge asking companies to increase the number of Black workers across all levels of the commercial and music video industry. Launched by over 100 Black creators in the film and advertising sector, the initiative is asking creative companies to commit to increasing the diversity of their workforces to reflect at least 15 per cent Black representation. This figure would align with the approximate percentage of Black people living in the United States and London.
Additionally, Change the Lens is urging production companies to consult a head of diversity and inclusion role, someone to mediate and oversee the implementation of the diversity pledge. Leading Change the Lens is Imperial Woodpecker director Rohan Blair-Mangat, Park Pictures director Savanah Leaf and in-house Florence EP, Alli Maxwell.
There are a variety of different pledges depending on the industry. Aside from the production company pledge, Change the Lens also outlines a talent agency pledge demanding 15 per cent or more Black talent on its rosters; a producer pledge asking 15 per cent or more of Black department heads and crew on every job; a director pledge asking the same; and a department head pledge similarly requesting 15 per cent of all crew on every job are Black.
In support of the initiative, Savanah Leaf, a Grammy Award-nominated film director and photographer said in a statement: “We’re asking for what we have always deserved: an opportunity to be the voice of our own stories.” Furthermore, Ali Maxwell said: “For far too long, production company hiring practices have allowed for exclusion and bias particularly along racial lines. Acknowledging racism exists and contenting with business as usual is not an acceptable option anymore when there is clear and overdue work that needs to be done regarding racial inequality in production.”
Companies that have already taken the pledge are Academy Films, Epoch Films, Luti Media, Object & Animal, Pulse Films and Park Pictures, just to name a few. Elsewhere, talent agencies who have taken the pledge include DDA Talent, Iconic Talent Agency, Murtha Skouras and the United Talent Agency. Many individual producers and directors have also taken the pledge including Cody Ryder, Salim El Arja, Luga Podesta, Savanah Leaf, A V Rockwell, Terence Nance, Benny Boom, Karena Evans and Alma Har’el.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.