Thursday, December 1, 2022
EntertainmentCelebrityMalala Yousafzai says too few Asians in Hollywood

Malala Yousafzai says too few Asians in Hollywood

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Activist Malala Yousafzai said that there is an obvious lack of diversity in Hollywood films with only 4% of lead characters ever being Asian.

“I know that executives have passed on dozens of quality, equally, amazing projects because they thought that the characters of their creators were too young, too brown, too foreign or too poor.

Sometimes it feels like they’re saying we just don’t belong here.”

The activist who was shot by the Taliban 10 years ago on the way home from school was speaking at an event celebrating female leaders in Los Angeles.

“I learned that Asian people like me make up less than 4% of leads in Hollywood films. Muslims are 25% of the population but only 1% of characters in popular TV series. Behind the camera, the statistics for black and brown creators are even worse.”

She also praised television shows like Never Have I Ever and Ms Marvel for giving viewers a chance to “see new faces and hear new stories” but said that the industry has a long way to go.

“Many of my friends are young women of colour. We are watching Ted Lasso, Succession, The Crown, all of it. So please ask yourselves, if we can love these stories, what makes you think that people won’t be interested in ours?”

To combat this sparsity, Malala has established Extracurricular, a production company that was founded in partnership with Apple TV+, the company has prioritized female-led narratives that Malala hopes will “connect people across cultures.”

Malala has won the Nobel Peace Prize and graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She was feted at the event together with Hilary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, Elizabeth Olsen, Oprah Winfrey and the Duchess of Sussex.

According to Stylish magazine, one 2022 report from the University of Southern California’s Anneberg Inclusion Initiative, supported by actor Riz Ahmed and his production company, Left Handed Films, looked at the first three episodes of the 100 top-rated TV shows in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand in 2018 and 2019 and found that there was only one speaking character who was Muslim for every 90 non-Muslims.

More than 30% of total characters identified were depicted as perpetrating violence while 37% were criminals.

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