D&I Activist Shereen Anis Discusses the Changing Standard of Representation in Hollywood

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D&I Activist and founder of Representation Counts, Shereen Anis who has worked with #OscarsSoWhite, talks about the changing standard of representation in all industries including the arts.

Activist and founder of Representation Counts, Shereen Anis and I have a lot of similarities, we are both first generation North American born children of immigrants from Western and Central Asia. We are both under represented minorities in the film industry, especially Hollywood, but Canada as well and we are both interested in how we can pull away from compartmentalizing our ethnic backgrounds to fit an ideology that wants to put us in specific boxes.

An important part of our conversation regarding this topic was to avoid only pointing fingers at White people. They get the brunt of the blame and the fingers pointed at them, but people forget, when you point a finger at someone, you have three pointing back at you.

My intent with this interview was to ask the questions from the perspective of WHY we should care instead of browbeating people in saying YOU SHOULD care! It was also more important that with movements like Black Lives Matter being so prominent, figuring out why those of us who are first generation born American/Canadian of families from third world countries can and/or should care because we know what our parents went through in the Old World and how great the suffering continues to be in parts of continental Asia and Africa.

Another topic that was significant in my conversation with Ms. Anis was The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announcing new representation and inclusion standards for a film to be deemed eligible for the Oscars. For months now, both onscreen and behind the scenes, people in the media and entertainment industry have called for the inclusion of underrepresented races, genders, sexualities, and abilities. Actor John Boyega called out Disney for pushing aside his character in Star Wars and this past summer, actress Aisha Dee challenged the lack of diversity in the creative team behind the camera on her show The Bold Type.

We also discussed why for those of us who have ties to the Old World need to care about representation in film here if we already have thriving film industries in those parts of the world. Hint: Because we were born here and are just as much X Ethnicity as we are American.

For more information on Representation Counts, visit their website at www.representationcounts.com. Follow Representation Counts on Twitter @RepresentationC and on Instagram @representationcounts_. Follow Shereen Anis on Instagram @shereenanis_____.

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