Diversity Sells (When Done Well)

Diversity has been a huge issue in media. People complain that there is not enough of it, while others also complain that there is already plenty. What people often don’t realize is that diversity sells well, especially when it is done right.

   While some people complain about how there is already enough diversity in media, they fail to realize that it is in high demand. “Crazy Rich Asians” dominated Labor Day weekend, with the film grossing almost 200 million dollars since its release with a Tomatometer of 93% on rottentomatoes.com. Meanwhile, “Love, Simon” has grossed over 66 million dollars since its release and was as equally received on Rotten Tomatoes (not to mention how much money “Black Panther” grossed on its opening day). On the other hand, “Ghost in the Shell” made only about 170 million at the box office, yet it had a budget of 110 million with a 43% Tomatometer.

  Legitimate diversity in movies is hard to find. If the franchise is not Disney or Marvel, then it is almost impossible to find a movie that has a diverse cast. However, now that people are beginning to realize how well diversity sells, there is a rush from Hollywood to make a cast lineup that is anything but bland. This is as opposed to before, when directors would simply cast a white person for most roles.

    On the other hand, this turns into a double-edged sword. Although the influx of diversity in media is welcomed and a wonderful change to see, it also raises the problem of having diversity just for the sake of having it.

   Despite the fact that people want to see more diversity in movies because it is more relatable than seeing a middle-class white person gaining superhuman powers or falling in love in a generic romance story, there comes the new issue of writing these characters. 

   Of course scripts do not need to be written a special way, but often times writers feel compelled to try to frame their stories with a strategy that would suggest that, because the actors do not exemplify the typical white heterosexual norm that audiences are used to, these writers have to write in a way that would suggest the characters are anything but stereotypical. Which is not always bad, but it can be when the actor is just the “token” ethnic archetype that Hollywood is trying to project. If the movie isn’t written well, then there isn’t a point in making it.

   Hopefully that, through the rise of diversity in casts, more writers will become involved and understand how to create these characters without doing it terribly.