Diversity Week 2023: Trailblazers That Exemplify Why Representation Matters

People Meeting

It’s Cable’s Diversity Week – an annual celebration of the industry’s unwavering commitment to foster inclusivity at every stage – from the creative talents in front of the camera to the leaders steering the ship.

Why it matters: Diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the key to more compelling and meaningful stories on our screens. That’s why the cable, media, and entertainment world continuously strives to recruit and support professionals who reflect our diverse society in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

This Diversity Week, let’s shine a spotlight on three remarkable trailblazers who have profoundly impacted diversity, equity, and inclusion in media and entertainment.

Zinhle Essamuah

Zinhle Essamuah

Zinhle Essamuah, co-anchor of NBC News Daily and correspondent for NBC News, is an award-winning journalist acclaimed for her probing coverage of inequality and justice.

  • A 2023 Emmy nominee in the Outstanding Emerging Journalist category.
  • Led NBC’s broadcast coverage of the 2022 Jackson water crisis in Mississippi, which ultimately developed into the NBC documentary Boiling Point.
  • An award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker whose freelance and corporate filmography has premiered on Starz/Hulu and at film festivals nationwide.

The big picture: Zinhle exemplifies the change that happens when we expand who holds the mic. She persists in speaking truth to power as a pioneer, contributing to a more inclusive and representative mainstream news landscape.

Hallmark Media’s Mahogany

Rooted in the iconic Hallmark greeting card line of the same name, Mahogany delivers powerful storytelling that celebrates love, joy, kindness, and the essence of human connection, all through the unique lens of the Black experience.

  • Launched in 2022 with the premiere of “Unthinkably Good Things” – a heartwarming movie centered around Black women, friendships, and family.
  • Spearheaded by Toni Judkins, Senior Vice President of Programming Development at Hallmark Media, Mahogany’s original content airs on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
  • Breaking new ground, Mahogany is venturing into scripted podcasts with Crimson Hearts Collide, an original romance-mystery story designed to captivate listeners.

The big picture: Hallmark Media continues to lead the way in promoting diversity both in front of and behind the camera. Mahogany is a testament to their dedication to showcasing a wide range of voices and perspectives in entertainment.

The Hidden Genius Project

The Hidden Genius Project Logo

Established in 2012, the Hidden Genius Project is a dedicated organization with a clear mission: to bridge the gap for young Black males by providing them with the skills, mentors, and experiences required to thrive as entrepreneurs and technologists in our ever-evolving 21st-century global economy.

  • Founded by five Black male entrepreneurs/technologists troubled by the stark contrasts between the high employment rates among Black male youth and the abundance of career opportunities within the local technology sector.
  • Empowered more than 10,300 young people through their immersive programs, which focus on exposing, connecting, and mobilizing youth of color.
  • Recently awarded a $2 million grant through Comcast/NBC Universal’s Project UP initiative, enabling them to extend their reach into Atlanta and Chicago.

The big picture: The Hidden Genius Project has undoubtedly proven its ability to lead the charge in addressing equity issues within the technology field. By empowering young Black males with skills, mentors, and opportunities, they are narrowing the gap and lighting the way toward a more inclusive and innovative future.

To learn about our efforts to expand representation in entertainment, click here