50 Agents of Change Empowering Diverse Voices in Hollywood

The Hollywood Reporter highlighted 50 individuals who have helped drive opportunities for more diversity in Hollywood … including Viola.

Meet the creative and business forces — including Kenya Barris, Laverne Cox, Jon M. Chu and Norman Lear — who are shifting the industry’s landscape to drive opportunities onscreen and off for fresh talents and leaders: “I want to do things that break what I expect Hollywood to do.”

“Every time someone earnestly explains why it is so incredibly deeply difficult for them to find a woman or a man of color to hire,” says Shonda Rhimes, “an angel loses its wings.” In other words, it’s way past time for Hollywood’s offices, sets and writers rooms to represent robust diversity, and THR’s first-ever roster of Agents of Change highlights the key figures working daily to make that happen. They were chosen — after extensive reporting and consultation with stakeholders at every level of entertainment, as well as key members of inclusion-centered industry groups like Time’s Up and ReFrame — for their active leadership and mentorship: These are the producers, execs, creators, stars and advocates making content, making hires and making noise for those still finding their voice. Adds Rhimes, “Good men fix broken things.” So meet the good men (including some straight white dudes), good women and one nonbinary person who are leading the way.

Viola Davis
Actor, producer

The Oscar winner and Time’s Up activist is an outspoken advocate for pay parity, speaking about her experiences as a woman of color who has repeatedly been paid less than her male and white female counterparts. The 53-year-old actress, who earned acclaim working with black creatives like Steve McQueen, Shonda Rhimes and Denzel Washington, has also committed to fostering the next generation of behind-the-camera talent. Under her and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee banner, which has a first-look deal with Amazon, she’s developing features with such directors as Maggie Betts and telling diverse stories like The Woman King, an Africa-set epic about an all-female military unit.

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