George Maguire

It’s clear that Hollywood has a diversity problem. With protagonists being almost exclusively white and male, secondary roles have historically been given to women, black, Asian and minority Ethic actors. Diversity has been a real issue with much of the world having close to zero positive role models on screen. With a host of video production companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime going strength by strength, there are new agendas on the block. Let’s take a look at some stunning shows and films celebrating diversity…

1 Netflix’s Lupin (2021) link here

Lupin’s ‘Gentleman Thief’ protagonist Assane Diop played by Omar Sy. Image via Hello Magazine

French Netflix show Lupin is based on the stories of the book Arséne Lupin which was written in 1905. Filmed in Paris (The Louvre in the first episode) Lupin follows the story of a classy thief Assane Diop (played by French comedian and actor Omar Sy) as he balances being a father with a life of crime, also avenging his father in the process. With a second season coming later in the year the show is on track for 70 million views in January 2021alone… 
Watch on Netflix here

2 Netflix’s Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us (2018) – link here

London’s John Boyega in Black Hollywood. Image via Netflix UK.
Black Hollywood: They’ve Gotta Have Us presents us with the story of black representation in film. Set across a backdrop of racism and marginalisation, BLM, #OscardsSoWhite, Director Simon Federick and other stars takes us through the rise of black artists, actors and filmmakers in Hollywood. If you haven’t seen 2016’s Moonlight yet (first film with all all-black cast to win an Oscar for Best Picture), you really should… 
Watch on Netflix here

3 Soul (2020) link here

Soul’s leading man Joe Gardner voiced by Jamie Foxx. Image via Disney & Pixar.
Of any studio Disney & Pixar surely have the recipe for animated storytelling nailed down. Released at Christmas 2020, New York Jazz pianist Joe Gardner (voiced by the brilliant Jamie Foxx) ends up a nether region between the afterlife and earth; precisely at the moment he is about to make it as a musician. Gardner is the first Pixar film to feature a black main character and marks a crucial step forward in diversity, animated and otherwise. This is the very best of digital art, affirmed with spades of well… soul.
Stream on Disney + here

4 Chef’s Table – Bo Songvisava (2018) - Link here

Thai Chef Bo Songvisava. Photo via
Anyone interested in food has likely watched an episode or two of Chef’s Table on Netflix. Beautifully shot with cinematic slow-motion cooking footage accompanied with orchestral arrangements, the show tells the stories of the world’s most boundary pushing chefs. My favourite episodes include those with Brazilian Alex Atala and Thai Bo Songvisava. Tune in to learn more about Bo’s Michelin-star Bangkok restaurant Bo-lan, Bo’s inspiration, Thai culinary traditions and the ingredients that made it all possible. A fascinating watch.
Watch on Netflix here.

5 Dear White People (2017) – watch here  

Dear White People cast. Image via Netflix.
Netflix’s widely acclaimed Dear White People is a US comedy drama that shines perspective on American race relationships. Created by Justin Simeon, the show merges sharp humour with social commentary, framing and shocking the viewer with events such as police brutality. Dear White People is a show that will get you thinking about your own identity; the moments and forces that have made us the way you are.
Watch Dear White People on Netflix here


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