Los Angeles Times features new USC Annenberg study

The Los Angeles Times featured a new study from USC Annenberg Associate Professor Stacy Smith and her team of researchers that reveals an underrepresentation of minority characters and directors in popular films.

The study, released Oct. 30, found that 76.3 percent of all speaking characters in popular films last year were white.

“At the core, this is a visibility issue,” said researcher Katherine Pieper. “Who we see in film sends a powerful message about who is important and whose stories are valuable, both to international audiences and to younger viewers in our own country.”

There was also a correlation between the race of a film’s director and the race of the film’s cast. When the director is black, 56.2 percent of the speaking cast is black. But, when the director is not black, only 9.9 percent of the speaking cast is black.

“We think our data open up opportunities to have a larger conversation about issues of inclusivity in the industry,” said Smith.

The study is the latest in a series on race, ethnicity and gender in film conducted by the USC Annenberg Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative.

The study was also featured in the Sacramento Bee and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.