Photo: Courtesy of Dreamworks.
The overview from UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies found that in 2011, minority actors took only 10.5% of the lead roles in the top 172 films released that year. It is a significant underrepresentation of actual minorities, who accounted for about 36% of the U.S. population in 2010. Most of the films that did include minority leads were ethnic-targeted movies, including a Tyler Perry title and Jumping the Broom.
Out of that same pool of 172 films, over half included casts made up of 10% minorities or less. Only 2.3% of the films featured casts who were nearly representative of the actual U.S. minority population.
Women, too, were given short shrift. They took barely a quarter of lead roles — typically in female-focused films like Bridesmaids and The Help — and accounted for only 4% of directors among the top movies.
In television, things are even bleaker. Minorities took only 5% of lead comedy and drama roles on broadcast channels; they did a little better on cable, where they accounted for 14.7% of shows like VH1's Single Ladies and Nickelodeon's Supah Ninjas. They were also more likely to be cast in reality shows.
Thanks to shows like Scandal, 30 Rock, 2 Broke Girls, women were proportionately represented on broadcast networks — but not on cable.