The actor is among the first to respond to Frances McDormand’s Oscar speech urging A-listers to use their power to demand greater diversity
Black Panther star Michael B Jordan has announced that his production company will be adopting the “inclusion rider” – a clause in contracts demanding projects have diverse casts and crews. His move comes in response to Frances McDormand’s powerful speech at Sunday’s Academy Awards, in which she encouraged the industry to back more stories and projects created by women.
“In support of the women & men who are leading this fight, I will be adopting the Inclusion Rider for all projects produced by my company Outlier Society,” Jordan announced on 7 March, posting an image of himself with Outlier Society’s head of production, Alana Mayo, and his agent, Phil Sun. “I’ve been privileged to work with powerful woman & persons of color throughout my career & it’s Outlier’s mission to continue to create for talented individuals going forward.” Outlier Society’s planned projects include a remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair and Netflix sci-fi series Raising Dion, though it is not known when its inclusion rider pledge will be implemented.
Jordan is one of the first high-profile players to adopt the principle, since McDormand drew attention to it in her acceptance speech for best actress award at the Oscars. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider,” she told the audience. Others who have expressed support for the initiative so far include Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson and media company Endeavour Productions.
The principle of inclusion riders was first proposed in 2014 by Stacy L Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a thinktank researching inclusion and diversity in the entertainment industry. According to its data, women and people of colour are routinely under-represented on- and off-screen in Hollywood. Its latest survey, in January, found that just 4% of 1,100 top Hollywood movies were directed by women in the past decade, while 5.2% were directed by African Americans and 3.2% by directors of Asian descent.
“Imagine the possibilities if a few actors exercised their power contractually on behalf of women and girls,” Smith wrote in 2014. “It wouldn’t necessarily mean more lead roles for females, but it would create a diverse on-screen demography reflecting a population comprised of 50% women and girls. In other words, reality.” Inclusion riders could also stipulate more representation of people of colour, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, she added.
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