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Talent Representation and Diversity: Charles D. King, MACRO & M88

STUBBS, Andrew (2022) Talent Representation and Diversity: Charles D. King, MACRO & M88. In: Communities and Communication Conference, 19th - 20th of May 2022, Online Event.

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In media scholarship, the roles that talent intermediaries including talent agents and managers play in production has gone frequently overlooked (Lotz, 2014: 27-28; Roussel, 2017: 194-195). In 2018, however, UCLA’s annual Hollywood Diversity Report found that talent agencies and talent managers perform gatekeeping roles that contribute to the underrepresentation of women and people of colour in Hollywood film and television production (Hunt et al. 2018: 28-32). Since the publication of this report, a greater spotlight on diversity in Hollywood following especially the #MeToo, #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter movements have led to incremental gains being made for women and people of colour in screen production, especially in television (citation). In turn, some shifts have occurred in the talent representation business.

One manifestation of these circumstances came in 2020 when Charles D. King, the first ever African American partner at WME and the founder of production firm MACRO, partnered with Phillip Sun, one of WME’s first ever Asian American partners, to establish M88, a talent management firm focused on representing diverse voices (Tran, 2020). Recruiting marquee clients including Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan and Idris Elba and maintaining links with WME, M88 positioned itself as a potentially powerful new player in the Hollywood talent representation business. Thus, Sun stated, ‘Where M88 can be a leader in the industry is to shine the light that a successful representation firm can look like us … How do we keep pushing the bar for the next generation?’ (Lee, 2020). With all of this in mind, this paper takes M88 and its parent company MACRO as a case-study for shedding light on the role that talent agencies and management companies play in improving or restricting diversity in screen media production. In doing so, the paper explores to what extent real change is occurring and asks whether companies such as M88 can really help to bring about the change that is needed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > Film and Media
Event Title: Communities and Communication Conference
Event Location: Online Event
Event Dates: 19th - 20th of May 2022
Depositing User: Andrew STUBBS
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2023 15:48
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2023 15:48

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