Michael B. Jordan Demands Inclusion Riders

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Photo courtesy of Variety.com.

Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan is the latest actor to make a statement following Sunday night’s Academy Awards conversation on inclusion riders.

On Wednesday Jordan announced his production company, Outlier Society Productions, will require an inclusion rider for all current and future projects.

So what is an inclusion rider? An inclusion rider is a stipulation both actors and actresses may ask for or require written into their contracts that requires a certain amount of diversity among the cast and crew.

So why is it a current topic of conversation?

The term inclusion rider has made its rounds in media headlines this week following actress Frances McDormand’s best actress acceptance speech at the 90th annual Oscars. After accepting her award, to much surprise, and asking each of her fellow female nominees to stand up with her in celebration, she had one more thing to add. “I have two words to leave you with tonight, ladies and gentleman,” she said. “Inclusion rider.”

The phrase sparked many Google searches this week and a number of conversations at after parties, we can assumer. Jordan took McDormand’s words to heart and took action this week with his announcement. He posted a photo to his Instagram with Outlier’s head of production and development Alana Mayo and his agent Phil Sun.

He wrote, “In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the inclusion rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to work with powerful women & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.”

Jordan has been riding high on the success of Black Panther, so it’s great to see him putting that attention to good use in his professional endeavors moving forward.

Although a lot of progress has been made on diversity in film, there’s still a long road ahead. Take a lot at a few of these stats composed by Stacy L. Smith, director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California. She told NPR in an interview the following information from a study of 900 films over the course of 10 years:

  • Just 31.4 percent of speaking characters were female, even though they represent a little more than half the U.S. population.
  • Women represented 4.2 percent of the directors, and just 1.4 percent of the composers.
  • About 29 percent of speaking characters were from nonwhite racial/ethnic groups, compared with nearly 40 percent in the U.S.
  • Only 2.7 percent of speaking characters were depicted with a disability, despite the fact that nearly 20 percent of people in the U.S. has one.

The industry needs people like Frances and Jordan to speak out and make actionable steps toward equality – not just for themselves but for representation on screen too. In the era of a #TimesUp and #MeToo movement, the world is looking at the entertainment industry to change the tide. And with inclusion riders in the mix of conversation, perhaps we’re one step closer to equal representation.

 

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