Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Diverse Representation is a new comprehensive database that lists African-American agents, attorneys, managers and publicists who work in the entertainment industry. The database features such names as Vanessa Anderson (Issa Rae’s publicist), Andrew Coles (Lena Waithe’s manager) and a host of other professionals throughout the country. The database is meant to serve as a resource for anyone in the entertainment industry seeking African-American representation. The direct link is www.diverserepresentation.com.
According to a recent UCLA study, 96.7% of partners running dominant talent agencies are white and 90% of agents brokering deals are white. There are still gaping racial disparities when it comes to those hired to represent talent in the entertainment industry, and Diverse Representation seeks to close that gap. Diverse Representation was created to expand the conversation surrounding “diversity in the entertainment industry” to include agents, attorneys, managers and publicists. 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. Rarely do we speak about it from the perspective of those doing the leg work behind the screen who represent those talents by negotiating fair deals and fostering relationships for future work.
Diverse Representation was created by Jaia Thomas, a Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment attorney. “The idea for Diverse Representation was actually sparked soon after the release of Black Panther,” says Thomas. “On the heels of the meteoric success of Black Panther, I started to wonder who the attorneys, agents, managers and publicists representing the stars of the film were and after doing a little research, I discovered they were almost all white. Something needed to change.”
There is no fee to access the database and over the next several months, the website will begin rolling out additional features, such as in-depth Q&A’s with professionals listed on the site.