Executive in Residence and Director of the Business of Creative Enterprises Program Wes Jackson contributed to an article examining race and pop culture in the wake of civil unrest across the country, as the murders of George Floyd and other Black men and women have sparked protests and the renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The article points out the surge in interest for Black movies, literature, and podcasts about race. And the entertainment industry is examining films and other content that is offensive and deciding what to do about it. Jackson says businesses know there is money to be made during this time: “Someone pulled out a spreadsheet and said, ‘We better get on the other side of this.” Regarding racist depictions of characters in media: “Get ‘Dumbo’ off Disney Plus. I don’t want to see any more ‘Little Rascals,’ A teachable moment? You’ve been able to teach this moment for 500 years, and you haven’t. So I want it gone. It’s insulting to me.”
Jackson also says there is reason for optimism in a cultural shift: young white students who don’t tolerate racism in entertainment.
These are White kids coming in here, progressive and engaged. These are people who grew up on Obama and Beyoncé and Jay-Z. They’re like, ‘Yeah, of course Black lives matter — when did they not?