April 30, 2019  •  Ali  •  No Comment  •  Articles

The Hollywood Reporter highlighted 50 individuals who have helped drive opportunities for more diversity in Hollywood … including Octavia.

Meet the creative and business forces — including Kenya Barris, Laverne Cox, Jon M. Chu and Norman Lear — who are shifting the industry’s landscape to drive opportunities onscreen and off for fresh talents and leaders: “I want to do things that break what I expect Hollywood to do.”

“Every time someone earnestly explains why it is so incredibly deeply difficult for them to find a woman or a man of color to hire,” says Shonda Rhimes, “an angel loses its wings.” In other words, it’s way past time for Hollywood’s offices, sets and writers rooms to represent robust diversity, and THR’s first-ever roster of Agents of Change highlights the key figures working daily to make that happen. They were chosen — after extensive reporting and consultation with stakeholders at every level of entertainment, as well as key members of inclusion-centered industry groups like Time’s Up and ReFrame — for their active leadership and mentorship: These are the producers, execs, creators, stars and advocates making content, making hires and making noise for those still finding their voice. Adds Rhimes, “Good men fix broken things.” So meet the good men (including some straight white dudes), good women and one nonbinary person who are leading the way.

Octavia Spencer
Actor, producer

The 46-year-old Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water star may be a bona fide A-lister, but she has been outspoken about her personal fight for pay equality — and says having open dialogue is the key. “I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with young women who have an accomplished résumé while their male co-stars do not; yet, he’s offered considerably more,” says Spencer, who just signed a three-year pod deal with Disney’s 20th Century Fox Television for her new production company Orit Entertainment. As an executive producer, Spencer has used her power to bring more women onto set. In her upcoming horror film Ma, 45 percent of department heads were women, and for her Apple series Truth Be Told, she adds, “Our fearless executive producers are diverse and comprised of 70 percent women, so it was organic to hire female department heads and directors.”

WHO’S REALLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN HOLLYWOOD? “Mindy Kaling, Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon and Tyler Perry are all creating opportunities that I find exciting.”

BRAVEST CAREER RISK I’VE TAKEN “Moving from Montgomery, Alabama, with $3,000, a few contacts, and a dream in my heart.”

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