HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (CNS) — The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which came under fire this year over revelations about a historical lack of Black members, announced a five-year partnership Thursday with the NAACP to boost diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry.
"We have not only worked to reimagine our structure at the HFPA, but also our role as an association — using our platform to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry," Helen Hoehne, HFPA president, said in a statement. "This collaboration is so much more than reform. This is an opportunity to make a long-lasting change on a global scale. We're honored that NAACP Hollywood shares this long-term vision with us, and we encourage all of our partners in the industry to join us in tackling these issues head-on."
According to the HFPA — best known for its annual hosting of the Golden Globe Awards — the association and NAACP Hollywood Bureau will annually fund and collaborate on programs aimed at:
- Ensuring visibility of projects from artists of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds
- Increasing diverse representation in the industry
- Building pathways for inclusion of young artists and journalists of color
The partnership, dubbed the "Reimagine Coalition," will include efforts such as support for scholarships, internships and mentorships for diverse communities pursuing journalism or film/TV careers; boosting employment opportunities for "creatives of color"; hosting roundtable discussions and other events on topics of diversity and visibility in film and TV; and working to restore, preserve and digitize Black films.
The groups will also foster "connections with the Nigerian film industry and African diaspora cinema, as well as elevating cinema from diverse groups around the world through film festivals."
"The NAACP applauds our advocacy allies for pressing HFPA to commit to internal reforms, and we now welcome HFPA as a partner in the larger agenda to realize equity and inclusion throughout Hollywood," Kyle Bowser, senior vice president of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, said in a statement. "The emerging spirit of racial reckoning must move beyond the convenience of condemning individual transgressors, toward a collective will to redesign the ecosystem that has nurtured a legacy of systemic discrimination and oppression.
"We must be mindful that scapegoats are typically bred by the herd. NAACP and HFPA invite all industry institutions to join our Reimagine Coalition effort by reconciling bold proclamations of reform with actionable plans for accountability and allyship."
The HFPA has undertaken a series of reform efforts over the past year, including the adoption of new bylaws and structural changes such as expanding its membership and diversity. The plan calls for a 50% membership increase, with an accompanying loosening of membership requirements to open the organization to a wider array of journalists. The changes also included a series of ethics and transparency measures, including a review of the organization's press travel and a ban on accepting promotional items.
The group recently announced the addition of 21 new members, six of whom are Black.