dear entertainment industry: we want more diversity.
To Whom it May Concern:
One of the largest stories in Entertainment news is the Zendaya vs. Giuliana Rancic incident. For those of you who aren't aware of what I'm talking about, Fashion Police's co-host, Rancic, made a comment about Zendaya's red carpet hair style that was blatantly inappropriate stereotyping those who have locs. Upon hearing the distasteful comments by Giuliana, Zendaya wrote an eloquent piece shedding light once again on what it means to be a Woman of Color with Natural Hair in the public eye. Over the weekend Rancic's co-host resigned from Fashion Police due to differences with E! network.
My goal here isn't to regurgitate what media outlets have been reporting about the parties involved, you can look that up for yourself. My goal is to discuss the lack of People/Women of Color in the fashion and entertainment industries.
As I selected what to study as an undergrad and future grad student I made sure to focus my studies on something that I was passionate about. That turned out to be the intersection of fashion and race in the entertainment industry. To some it probably seems like a topic that doesn't need to be discussed, but it does, and this is another prime example. As of late, activist like Bethann Hardison have demanded for more diversity on the runway, but what about the other fashion outlets? What about the lack of diversity in front of the cameras? The lack of Black Creative Directors, casting agents, agents, producers, and writers? I personally never thought of this until I was able to interview an African American woman who is an entertainment reporter. She told me that not only do we need to aspire to be in front of the camera but behind the scenes. Those are the people that seem to have the real power along with consumers. They make the final decision as to who we watch on our favorite shows, who will walk the runway for the latest designers, and who we see in the magazines.
As someone who aspires to work with both the fashion and entertainment industries, it seems like breaking into these fields as a Woman of Color who's starting from the bottom seems impossible. As fashionbombdaily.com suggested perhaps there does need to be some sort of affirmative action for the fashion industry... If you disagree can you please list 10 editors/marketing directors/ PR girls etc. of any sort in the industry who are Women of Color without looking them up?
It's quite evident that E! Network and Giuliana Rancic have some major PR cleaning up to do. Now would be the perfect time to appoint a Woman of Color to be apart of the Fashion Police cast. Please, please, please don't put Khloé as the new host. I love Khloé, I do, but there's nothing more I would rather see than Women of Color who has something to bring to the table. E! has two known hosts that are African American: Terrence J and Alicia Quarles (their NYC correspondent). Give Alicia the part if you want to stay in the family. She has a keen sense of fashion, she's even covered the White House's Correspoendent dinner, and is EDUCATED.
My votes for the next face of Fashion Police are:
1. Tracee Ellis Ross. Please please give Tracee this gig. SHE is absolutely lovable. Seriously though, who doesn't like her? She's funny without be hurtful and disrespectful, has a keen sense of fashion and can help educate not only her potential co-host but a largely anglo audience.
2. June Ambrose. She's cray cray which seems fitting for the role and has been in the fashion industry as a stylist to the King and Queen, Hov and B to name a few of her clientele.
3. Me. I would gladly take this role just tell me when! About a year ago I decided that entertainment reporting was no longer the route I wanted to take. Constantly talking about mundane facts like the latest celebrity hookups and Kim's "Break the Internet" schemes appears to be draining after awhile. But, in light of the events that have taken place over the past couple of weeks I would love this position. It's the perfect time to elicit change in the industry. So if E! decides not to hire me I'll be okay, but hire a young woman like me. A young woman who notices the injustices in the industry, who cares about the relation between fashion and race, and who most importantly wants to make a change.
*E! audition tape coming soon ;)