Annenberg Inclusion Initiative


The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is the leading think tank in the world studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment through original research and sponsored projects. Beyond research, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative develops targeted, research-based solutions to tackle inequality. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative works in three major areas:

RESEARCH: Uses data-driven and theory-based research to offer insight and evidence to industries on where diversity is needed and how to achieve it

ADVOCACY: Exists to foster inclusion and give a voice to disenfranchised or marginalized groups

ACTION: Offers simple actions for complex solutions to facilitate social change at the student, industry, and societal level

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For more information and updates on the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, visit us:

You can also reach out to us at aii[at]

New Study From Dr. Stacy L. Smith & The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: Critic’s Choice 2

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has released a new report in partnership with TIME’S UP Entertainment, titled “Critic’s Choice 2.” It is the second from Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to investigate inclusion among film reviewers and examines access and opportunity for film critics. The report uses reviews of the 300 top-grossing films from 2015-2017 posted on the site Rotten Tomatoes to assess gender and race/ethnicity of critics, finding that reviewers are overwhelmingly white and male.

Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films

In summer 2018, Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at USC Annenberg released their annual study, titled Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films.

The study reveals how little top-grossing movies have changed when it comes to the on-screen prevalence and portrayal of females, underrepresented racial/ ethnic groups, the LGBT community, and individuals with disabilities. The study is the largest and most comprehensive intersectional analysis of characters in motion picture content to date.

The Inclusion Rider: Legal language for ending Hollywood’s epidemic of invisibility

Across the 100 top-grossing films of 2016, 47 did not feature a single Black woman or girl speaking on screen, 66 movies were devoid of Asian female characters, and a full 72 films erased Latinas. Very few females from the LGBT community, native and indigenous females, Middle Eastern females, or female characters with disabilities are seen in our cinematic stories. More generally, the percentage of females on screen in film has not moved in decades. It’s time to change these statistics. The inclusion rider was created to do just that. The inclusion rider is an addendum to an actor/content creator’s contract that stipulates that stories and storytellers should look like the world we actually live in — not a small fraction of the talent pool. It does this while also protecting story sovereignty.

The purpose of the inclusion rider is to counter bias in interviewing/auditioning and hiring/casting in specific employment positions in the entertainment industry. The rider is a template and living document, not something to be cut and pasted into a contract. The details of its implementation are crucial to its success. The rider is a flexible and adaptable framework that actors/content creators should consider together with counsel prior to signing on to their next project. The inclusion rider does not provide for quotas. It simply stipulates consideration of the deep bench of talented professionals from historically underrepresented groups and strongly encourages hiring and casting of qualified individuals from under-represented backgrounds. We believe that this language is a necessary first step to eradicate inequality experienced for years on screen and behind the camera.

In the spirit of inclusion, Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Kalpana Kotagal of Cohen Milstein, and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni of Pearl Street Films are sharing the template and hope it will be an important tool in achieving change. Read more about the origin of the “inclusion rider” and use the link below to see the original language.  

Inclusion in the Recording Studio?

Our inaugural report on inclusion in music is the first from Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to investigate the recording industry. The report examines gender and race/ethnicity of artists and content creators across 600 popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts from 2012 to 2017. The study also evaluates gender and race/ethnicity for six years of Grammy nominations for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Producer of the Year, and Best New Artist.

Inclusion in the Director’s Chair?

The annual report from Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Inclusion in the Director’s Chair, was released on January 4, 2018.

The study examines the gender, race, and age of directors across 1,100 popular films from 2007 to 2017, revealing that there has been no change over time. The report also explores gender in the executive and leadership ranks at major media companies.

Stacy Smith: The data behind Hollywood's sexism

In October 2016, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, the Founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, delivered a powerful TED Talk on the prevalence and portrayal of female characters in film. Most importantly, she shared her data-driven solutions to the problem. Watch now!

Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED


Beyond research, Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative are advancing practical, theory-driven solutions to the persistent lag in equality in media. These solutions offer real-world media professionals, performers, and even consumers the chance to get involved in addressing the problem and being part of sustainable change. Learn more about Dr. Smith's recommendations for individuals and organizations who want to end media inequality.

The Music Coalition

The vision of The Music Coalition is to create diversity and inclusion in the music industry. The mission of the coalition is to engage and work with leaders and executives in the music space to cultivate an inclusive industry culture and business practices that advance equality among artists, musicians, and employees. Ultimately, the coalition will leave a lasting global footprint on consumers by ensuring that music is openly accessible to all. 

Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Stacy L. Smith is the Founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California where she is also an Associate Professor. Dr. Smith’s work examines gender, race, LGBT status, disability, and age on screen and gender and race/ethnicity behind the camera in cinematic content as well as barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color in the entertainment industry. She also conducts economic analyses related to diversity and the financial performance of films. Dr. Smith is a world leader, with speaking engagements ranging from the TED Women stage to the United Nations. Her research sets the global standard for data on employment diversity in entertainment, and she is a trusted source to the entertainment industry. Dr. Smith’s work is cited widely by both corporate and educational audiences. Dr. Smith has written more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and reports on content patterns and effects of the media. In 2015, LA Weekly named Dr. Smith the #1 Most Influential Person in Los Angeles. You can read more about Dr. Smith’s work and accomplishments in her full bio.

AII Team


Research and advocacy at this level involves multiple stakeholders. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative is grateful to our existing sponsors and partners, including The David & Lura Lovell Foundation, Mari and Manuel Alba, Bonnie Arnold, Ann Erickson and Richard Pellett, Beth Friedman, Suzanne Lerner, Valley Fund for the Advancement of Women and Girls at the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and Ann Lovell, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and Barbara Bridges. Support is also provided by The Tides Foundation on the recommendation of Ms. Julie Parker Benello. Interested in supporting the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative? Please contact us for more information or click here to donate.

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Board of Advisors

Cinny Kennard

Executive Director, Annenberg Foundation

Shivani Rawat

Founder and CEO of ShivHans Pictures

Alana Mayo

Creative Executive

Jody Gerson

Global Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group

Hannah Minghella

President, TriStar Productions

Phil Sun

Partner/Agent, WME

Julius Tennon

President, Development & Production, JuVee Productions

Samantha Kirby Yoh

Partner and Head, East Coast Music Department, WME

Brenda Robinson

Director, Business Development, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP

Julie Ann Crommet

VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios

Kalpana Kotagal

Partner, Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC

Karen Horne

SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios

Ivan Bart

President, IMG Models

Jennifer Justice

President, Corporate Development, Superfly

Gary Lucchesi

President, Lakeshore Entertainment, President, Producers Guild of America

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni

Head of Strategic Outreach, Pearl Street Films

Lynette Howell Taylor

Founder, 51 Entertainment

Franklin Leonard

Founder, The Black List

Tena Clark

Founder, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer, DMI Music & Media

Jacki Zehner

Chief Engagement Officer, Women Moving Millions, President, The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation

Mauricio Mota

Co-President and Executive Producer, Wise Entertainment

Dr. Christine Moutier

Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Kelly Edwards

Head of Talent Development, HBO

Amy M. Emmerich

Chief Content Officer, Refinery29

Vivien Lewit

Global Head of Artist Services, YouTube and Google Play Music

Donna Gigliotti

President, Tempesta Films

Gina Reyes

Agent, Verve Talent and Literary Agency

Carla Sacks

Founder, Sacks & Co.

Nell Scovell

TV Writer/Creator

Thao Pham

Executive Director, Clif Bar Family Foundation

Cathy Schulman

President and CEO, Welle Entertainment, President, Women in Film Los Angeles

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Media Mentions

Study shows ongoing “inclusion crisis” in film industry

The newest study from AII examines inequality in the film industry

APNewsBreak: Study Says Films Exclude Women, Hispanics

Women, Hispanics and people with disabilities are among the most underrepresented groups

Study Finds 80 Percent of Female Directors Made Only One Movie in 10 Years

AII reports that just 8.1 percent of Hollywood’s helmers over the past decade were black or Asian

Lights, Camera, Taking Action

On many fronts, women are fighting for better opportunity in Hollywood

Hollywood Has A Major Diversity Problem, USC Study Finds

USC cites “epidemic of invisibility”

Musings from the Modest Lab

It's a bird, it’s a plane, it’s... Beyonce? (I wish!) From the highs of celebrity sightings to the lows of coding at the eleventh hour, Musings from the Modest Lab will give you the behind the scenes scoop of the madness that is AiSquared. Written by our Junior Fellow and External Engagement Team Member, Adaeze Ene.