BLACK VOICES

Russell Simmons Says 'Hollywood Is Segregated,' And It's 'Costing Money'

“I’ve never seen any place like it," he said.

Lack of diversity is costing Hollywood money according to Russell Simmons.

In a new interview with LinkedIn, the music mogul offered his two cents on how television and film executives’ failure to support diverse projects with diverse teams of writers and creators into their business strategy affects the culture of the industry ― and ultimately the bbottom line

“The lack of diversity is costing money. I think that the bosses, the chairmen, want the CEOs to create and the CEOs want people to create success and money,” he said. “Without a diverse team then even if you’re a good story teller, you’re telling a story that is maybe not cultural. If it’s not cultural then you have a big hurdle to jump like [with the movies] Carol or Brooklyn. It’s not ‘Straight Outta Compton.’ They’ll see that before they find out if it’s good or bad.” 

Simmons went on to add that Hollywood is currently “lacking culture” ― specifically Urban pop culture, which he cited as “the most mainstream thing there is.”

For his part, Simmons launched his “All Def Digital” media network in 2013 as YouTube channel. In April the brand, which distributes original content through its own media properties and social channels, launched its in-house ad agency ADHD to help brands reach an urban audience. To date the brand’s programming has focused on urban entertainment and comedy.

Later this year ADHD will premiere its newest franchise, “All Def Comedy Roast,” which will feature Snoop Dogg as the first roastee.  

Simmons says the creative agency will help integrate “a very difficult, under-served community.”

“I see the world this way: I think Hollywood is incredibly segregated,” he said. “I’ve never seen any place like it. The gatekeepers who are the most progressive activists inspired to make the world better ...  They’re segregated. It’s self-segregated in some cases, but there’s nobody Black in charge of anything in Hollywood.”

Simmons went on to clarify his statement by adding: “I shouldn’t say there’s no black agents. There’s one or two and they represent the black client until the black client becomes big and then they lose that client.” 

Watch more of Russell Simmons’ interview with LinkedIn in the clip above.

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