Putting Some Color Into (Trans)Media: The Current State of Diversity

Charles wanted to be Jon Favreau from Swingers, still doesOne of the main reasons I got into the business of film wasn't to make money or be famous, it was because me and friends saw films like Swingers and Clerks, loved them, quoted them often, and desired to see versions of those films that featured versions of us. It was my friends who pushed me to be a screenwriter, a dream that's either on hiatus or become a what-might-have-been, of which I'm not sure. Fifteen years later, as someone who is always curious about the culture and business of film, loves writing for this here digital rag, and as someone who works at a film festival, I've been trying to wrap my head around the current New Media/Transmedia conversation. As I've been exploring, reading and chatting, the part of me that wanted/wants to see films that include folks like me keeps peeking up time to time and can only marvel at how more alike, than dissimilar, in otherwords how monochromatic, those who are driving the New Media/Transmedia conversation are. More distressing, is how monochromatic those who seem to be participating are.

It's not like folks like Henry Jenkins or Brian Newman have avoided the question of diversity. Newman himself has sat on panels and asked why are there so many White guys. Jenkins has pointed out that non-white students create a whole hell of a lot of what we would call New Media content.

However, honestly, it's not Jenkins or Newman, or any of those other cats I'm looking at to lead the charge. No, I want to know, where are my fellow 37 year-old folks of color? Where are the guys and gals I remember seeing Love Jones on opening night with, who 13 years ago said "finally" under their breath, and 13 years later are now asking "what happened?"

I've started doing some preliminary searching, and I can't find a damn thing from anyone that seems to dissect this new frontier from the perspective of being Black, Latino, Asian, etc. One of the most interesting and empowering storytelling revolutions is developing around us, and unless I'm blind, stupid and forgot how to do a basic keyword search in Google, we seem to be sitting on the sidelines, contributing silence and indifference.

So am I missing those folks who are doing the interesting work? If so, please point them out to me. Because this conversation extends beyond just People of Color. As someone who proudly calls themselves a Southerner, who revels in films that explore different times, different eras and different questions, I'm dying to see more stories spring forth from unlikely sources.