This 2015 American Express credit card company advertisement tells the story of “unlikely leading lady” Mindy Kaling. In the video, the successful Indian American actress, comedian, and writer talks about growing up discovering that she liked and had a talent for acting and comedy, and also how she carved a path forward even though she did not see anyone who looked like her in TV and film. She also talks about the stereotypical roles she was limited to play in the past, and how significant and important it is to her now to be the visibility and representativeness on screen and in the entertainment industry that was missing when she was growing up. Throughout the video, Kaling is shown being interviewed between clips of her getting ready for her day, including exercising, eating, showering and choosing clothes, driving to work, and ultimately walking onto a set to discuss how a show is being filmed. The video ends with the American Express logo and campaign tagline: the journey never stops.
This video was created by AJ+, a digital news, politics, and current events channel by Al Jazeera Media Network, and features a range of Native Americans from different tribes talking about their thoughts on “illegal” immigration, which in 2015, has once again dominated the U.S. election season. At the beginning of the video, text is shown stating, “The current national debate on illegal immigration has left out the voices of the people who are native to this land – voices that challenge who exactly is ‘illegal.’” The Native Americans talk about how they dislike the word “illegal,” how they feel invisible, forgotten, and unrepresented, and one woman says, “I don’t think people realize that the first illegal immigrants were European settlers.” Similarly, another woman says that, “if we’re going to talk about illegal immigration, we need to go back in the last 350-500 years ago, of starting with Plymouth Rock and who had permission to come over to our lands.” In another section of the video, the women and men talk about national and state borders, how they impact their families, traditions, and ways of life, and what it would mean to certain tribes that would be split if these artificial boundaries were imposed on them. The video closes with the message that many Native Americans and indigenous people relate to land and the earth as “belonging” to no one, because people are seen not as owners, but as stewards of the land.
This commercial features women exposing and flaunting their white, smooth underarms, showing great confidence around men. The narrator states that because men admire every part of a woman’s body, awoman’s underarms should be beautiful. She explains that the deodorant minimizes pores and lightens skin.
The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, have been awarded annually since 1929 for excellence in film. The Oscars are generally seen as the most prestigious award in the film industry, televised live in more than 100 different countries and watched by approximately 40 million people in the United States alone. But who decides who actually gets to take home an Oscar? This infographic was produced by the LA Times as part of an investigation into the age, race and gender demographics of the nearly 6,000 people who vote for the Oscars. The results show that the Academy Awards voters are overwhelmingly white, mostly male and a majority are over the age of 60.
This 2015 short film made by Buzzfeed, a pop culture website, showcases people of color recreating the posters of popular movies. Minority groups such as South and East Asians, African Americans, and members of the LBGTQ community are featured in the re-creations, including movie posters for “Mean Girls” (2004), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Titanic” (1997), “Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013), and “The Breakfast Club” (1985). In between posters, statistics about the underrepresentation of minorities in Hollywood and in the media play across the screen and over the images of the new “actors,” who are dressed in the original costumes that their white counterparts wore for their roles. While some of the statistical facts deal with the idea that minorities are underrepresented numbers-wise, the video also states that the “few roles that cast Asians rarely diverge from existing stereotypes,” which not only calls into question underrepresentation but misrepresentation and the larger issue of the lack of diversity of roles in Hollywood. At the end of the video, we see a collection of the new actors together with the words “Aren’t these movies beautiful in color?,” prompting viewers to think about the “color” (or lack thereof) they see in current films and what they would look like re-envisioned on a more diverse landscape.