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Lack of Diversity In Hollywood

Hollywood: a place where many dreams come true. Hollywood: a place where many dreams are crushed into pieces and scattered onto the harsh concrete. For many, this place seems so out of reach that they simply give up and pursue something more conventional. More prone to being discouraged, people of color give up on their dreams. The industry is diverse in a sense that it takes in more people of color than it used to. However, a lack of diversity remains an issue, discouraging many people of color and other ethnicities from pursuing their dreams of acting. As someone of Egyptian descent, I, alongside many others, feel underrepresented in the Hollywood industry.

Despite the fact that Hollywood is beginning to bring in more people of color, the industry still lacks the progressivism needed to make it diverse enough to encourage everyone to attempt to pursue their goals in the field of acting. People of color, such as African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics are making their way into the industry slowly but surely. However, Middle Easterners and North Africans are almost non-existent on this spectrum. Few people of these groups have made their way into Hollywood. The most influential and famous of the few: Rami Malek. His prominent role in the hit television show, Mr. Robot, is paving the way and encouraging people of his ethnicity to do what they love. In spite of their rise in the industry, many roles that people of color receive are stereotypical to their race. For example, Rami Malek paved his road in Hollywood by playing the terrorist or the pharaoh in his introductory movies and films. Malek is not the only example of these stereotypical roles. In the film and comic Iron Fist, the people of color, in this specific case, Asians, are portrayed as the criminals and villains while the white actors are seen as the heroes. Meanwhile, many white people are given roles that were formulated for actors of color. In Avatar, a film based on the animated children's show, the majority of the characters are played by white actors and actresses instead of the native tribes initially used in the animation. The animations clearly depict the characters as people of color. However, the live-action film consists of white people playing the leaders that were animated using people of color.

To me, the primary example of the progression of the Middle Easterners in Hollywood is Rami Malek. He will soon branch out to larger and less stereotypical movie roles, such as that of Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biographical film. Malek is one of the few, if any, Coptic Egyptian actors in the industry. Figures like Rami Malek are extremely admirable to individuals like me, who wish to work in Hollywood or in the field of television. He is a figure that is opening doors for not only North Africans and Middle Easterners, but for all minorities that are not represented well in Hollywood. Rami Malek said it himself: “The fact that I'm of Egyptian descent speaks to the changes that are hopefully happening in Hollywood these days.” His presence in Hollywood today encourages people of color, including myself, to continue to pursuing their dream of working in the industry that is predominantly white. Progression with this issue is slow, but it’s occurring now more than ever before, and color in Hollywood is something that should grow over time.

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