The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the NAACP are teaming up to fight for more diversity, equity and inclusion for the global entertainment industry, following sharp criticism of exclusionary practices by the HFPA, which hands out the Golden Globe movie and TV awards.
The collaboration, dubbed the “Reimagine Coalition,” is billed as a five-year partnership that aims to increase diverse representation throughout the industry and build meaningful employment opportunities for Hollywood workers and journalists of color.
The HFPA, made up of Los Angeles-based journalists from overseas outlets, has been engulfed by controversy over issues ranging from preferential treatment and favors sought by its members to lack of racial representation in its ranks, which included no Black members, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation this year.
NBC has aired the Globes since 1996, but backed out of the 2022 ceremony, which is no longer planned.
Six months after vowing “transformational” change, the HFPA expanded its 87-member ranks with its most diverse and largest class in its 78-year history last week. The HFPA increased its membership by 20% with 21 new members, all from underrepresented groups.
HFPA President Helen Hoehne says the partnership with the NAACP goes beyond its ongoing reforms.
“We are now asking to come together as an industry and really fix the problem … and we can all work together,” Hoehne says.
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Months of conversations led to the announcement – and commitment – between the groups.
Kyle Bowser, senior VP of the NAACP’s Hollywood Bureau, said he knew the partnership was the right fit “almost immediately.”
“The African-American experience is one of constantly having to choose between that which is foul versus that which is necessary,” Bowser says. “While there were many advocacy groups who were rightfully pointing out the deficiencies in the HFPA business model, once we started to talk about using their commitment to change as an inspiration to the entire industry to also consider reform, there was no trepidation at all.”
The organizations will help support scholarships, fellowships, internships and mentorship programs for people of color seeking careers in journalism and the entertainment industry, and to help place them in jobs..
“That’s the most important facet of our effort, not so much to create opportunities to train and prepare people but to make sure that there’s something for them to do once they are trained and prepared,” Bowser says.
The organizations hope to recruit networks, studios and union guilds to help bring opportunities to underrepresented people. He’s hopeful they will be up to the task, and knows the industry is closely watching HFPA’s reform efforts.
“Their story is probably a mirror of many stories across our industry,” Bowser says. “We’d like to ask people to look inward and look for opportunities to make their own reforms, and perhaps use the experience of HFPA as a template.”
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The HFPA says it will work with the NAACP to restore and digitize Black films and . It also hopes to forge connections with Nigeria’s film industry and African diaspora cinema and, through film festivals, elevate cinema from diverse groups worldwide.
Both groups are aware change can’t happen instantly.
“What we’re trying to do now is widen the scope of how stories are told, whose stories are told, who’s telling them and how they’re distributed,” Bowser says. “So what we can accomplish over the next five years hopefully will be meaningful. I don’t know that it will completely turn what has happened in the preceding 100 years around totally. But we certainly intend to make a dent.”
Hoehne is eager for the partnership to move past five years, “because we’re looking at this really as long-term.”
The NAACP also hopes working with the HFPA will lend credence to its own Image Awards, which celebrates entertainers and athletes of color .
“This partnership between our associations helps people at least visualize that we’re peers and we should be regarded as such,” he says.
Contributing: Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Golden Globes’ HFPA partners with NAACP after racism accusations