Skip to main content

Multicultural TV Summit: More Diverse Hiring Is Good for Business

Jeimy Osorio, who plays Mariana on Telemundo hit Betty en NY, addressed the room in the Multicultural TV Summit session ”The Talent Perspective: Building a Career in Film & TV.“ Interviewed by Mark Robichaux, managing director of content of B&C and Multichannel News, Osorio spoke about what attracted her to Betty en NY, which premiered in February. She mentioned the show’s “message of self love, of self appreciation,” and described Betty as “a show that can heal through laughter.”

Osorio said it’s important for Hispanics to depict their culture on television, so the next generation can see authentic characters that they can look up to.

Minorities are finding more work in television. Osorio mentioned how having an Afro enabled her to convert auditions into work. “I would stand out for that,” she said.

There remains work to be done for minority communities in the arts. “It takes time, but I think we’ve come a long way,” said the actress. “This is just a step. I think there’s more to come.

"If we keep creating stories that inspire others … we’re making a big step in our society.”

People Session — The Impact of Diversity on Screen and Behind the Scenes looked at better diversity on both sides of the camera. Ann Carlsen, founder and CEO of Carlsen Resources, moderated. The panel consisted of Joan Baker, CCO of Society of Voice Arts and Science; Rudy Gaskins, CEO of Society of Voice Arts and Science; Mary Ellen Holden, advisor and New York Council Lead at Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; and Cathy Yee, CEO and founder of Incluvie.

Gaskins spoke of an increasingly blended society where “people share things cross-culturally.” Baker noted how people are free to enjoy different cultures, including content that may not appear to have been produced for them. They can learn from such experiences, and perhaps even add a little something to them."

The panelists spoke about how more diverse hiring has been good for business. Holden mentioned how films featuring women in lead roles outperform those with men in lead roles. Such data leads to more women in starring roles. She noted “an uptick in sales” among minority movie audiences.

Yee spoke of more diverse representation in both directing and producing. Gaskins shared about a diverse boardroom better connecting with the audience outside of it. “It helps you make adjustments before you go out there,” he said.

Baker shared her own voice-over experiences over the decades, and how diverse directors, which she did not see much of early on, are much more adept at overseeing minority talent. “It has actually changed,” she said. “Thank goodness!”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.