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
Explore the Initiative
- Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films
- The Inclusion Rider
- Research Areas and Reports
- The Music Coalition
- AII Team
- Board of Advisors
For more information and updates on the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, visit us:
You can also reach out to us at aii[at]usc.edu.
New Study From Dr. Stacy L. Smith & The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: Inequality in 1,200 Popular Films
The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative examined the gender and underrepresented racial/ethnic status of leading characters across the 1,200 top films from 2007 to 2018. The results are good news for the industry, as the brief charts an increase for female leads/co-leads, underrepresented racial/ethnic leads/co-leads, women of color, and women age 45 and older.
Inclusion in the Recording Studio?
Our annual report on inclusion in music examines gender and race/ethnicity of artists and content creators across 700 popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts from 2012 to 2018. The study also evaluates gender and 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. The study also includes a qualitative investigation, using 75 interviews with female songwriters and producers to understand the barriers facing women in these positions.
Mental Health in Popular Storytelling
The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative released its inaugural study on the portrayal of mental health conditions in storytelling, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and funded by The David and Lura Lovell Foundation. The study examined 100 top-grossing films and 50 popular TV series to understand the prevalence and context of mental health conditions in entertainment. Using a purposefully broad definition, the prevalence of mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, suicide, autism spectrum disorders, and other conditions was evaluated. Additionally, the elements surrounding these depictions were investigated to understand whether mental health conditions are dehumanized, stigmatized, and/or trivialized in popular media.
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, 2019.
The study examines the gender, race, and age of directors across 1,200 popular films from 2007 to 2018, revealing for the first time an increase in the percentage of black directors hired to helm top-performing movies. The report also explores gender in the executive and leadership ranks at major media companies, and gender and race/ethnicity of producers and below-the-line crew across 300 top films from 2016 to 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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
Executive Director, Annenberg Foundation
Founder and CEO of ShivHans Pictures
Global Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group
President, TriStar Productions
President, Development & Production, JuVee Productions
Samantha Kirby Yoh
Partner and Head, East Coast Music Department, WME
Co-founder, Gamechanger Films
Julie Ann Cromett
VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios
Partner, Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll PLLC
SVP, Programming Talent Development & Inclusion, NBC Entertainment and Universal Television Studios
President, IMG Models
President, Corporate Development, Superfly
President, Lakeshore Entertainment, President, Producers Guild of America
Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni
Head of Strategic Outreach, Pearl Street Films
Lynette Howell Taylor
Founder, 51 Entertainment
Founder, The Black List
Founder, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer, DMI Music & Media
Chief Engagement Officer, Women Moving Millions, President, The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation
Co-President and Executive Producer, Wise Entertainment
Dr. Christine Moutier
Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Head of Talent Development, HBO
Amy M. Emmerich
Chief Content Officer, Refinery29
Global Head of Artist Services, YouTube and Google Play Music
President, Tempesta Films
Agent, Verve Talent and Literary Agency
Founder, Sacks & Co.
Executive Director, Clif Bar Family Foundation
President and CEO, Welle Entertainment, President, Women in Film Los Angeles
Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Media Mentions
Time's Up Turns a Page: Brie Larson, Tessa Thompson and USC's Stacy Smith on a "Very Simple Formula to Create Change"
Inclusion strategies have sprung up aplenty, but how to really move the needle?
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
Most TV computer scientists are still white men
Google wants to change that