A Black attorney is aiming to diversify the entertainment industry through the creation of a new platform. Jaia Thomas created Diverse Representation as an avenue to connect companies with entertainment lawyers, agents, publicists and managers of color, Black Enterprise reported.
Thomas was inspired to launch her platform after noticing the lack of racial representation behind the scenes in the entertainment space, the news outlet writes. She believed that there was a major need to create an outlet that would highlight diverse talent. Diverse Representation features a database of Black professionals. It’s currently centered on talent in Los Angeles, but Thomas hopes to expand to other major cities, including Atlanta and New York.
“Oftentimes, when we speak about diversity in the entertainment industry it is limited to the perspective of those names and faces we see on screen,” Thomas told Black Enterprise. “Rarely do we speak about it from the perspective of those doing the legwork behind the screen who represent those talents by negotiating fair deals and fostering relationships for future work.” She also added that conversations about diversity in the industry should be “all-encompassing” and should not solely focus on what’s happening in front of the camera. Thomas says that Diverse Representation will “ensure diversity throughout all facets of the entertainment industry.”
There is a need for a platform like Thomas’ as the statistics surrounding diversity in entertainment look grim. According to the 2018 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, 96.7% of partners running dominant talent agencies are white and 90.8% of agents brokering deals are white as well.