Friday, November 3, 2017

#BLACKGIRLMAGIC #BLACKGIRLSROCK - MARA BROCK AKIL & STEPHANIE ALLAIN On THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER MAG!!!



Producers MARA BROCK AKIL is a very successful producer who counts widely-popular TV series'  MOESHAThe GAME and GIRLFRIENDS among her Hollywood credits, while STEPHANIE ALLAIN lists HUSTLE Ad FLOW, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, and; BEYOND The LIGHTS among her successes!!!

The recent HARVEY WEINSTEIN RAPE And SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS had The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER Magazine to bring them together with fellow HOLLYWOOD executives KRISTA VERNOFF, SUE NAEGLE, and TERRY PRESS, for a discussion of SEXUAL HARASSMENT, RACE, POLITICS, POWER, and so Much MORE - HARASSMENT In HOLLYWOOD: 5 HOLLYWOOD WOMEN On CHANGING The CULTURE Of HOLLYWOOD.


Here are some interview interludes:

In the aftermath of these stories breaking — about Harvey Weinstein, about Roy Price — I wanted to check in with everybody about how you're feeling

MARA BROCK AKIL Two thoughts: One was, "You know what? I'll read those articles later. I already know the truth. Been there, done that. Seen it, heard it." And not just in this industry. In [my] personal life — it's everywhere. So, I decided, in a selfish way, that I'm not going to get distracted by that. Oftentimes women, not only do we have to suffer the trauma, we have to deal with the trauma, unpack the trauma, therapize the trauma, work through the trauma. Now I'm supposed to be distracted by it? When we are in that distraction place, I can't get to the work. And I need to work because I'm still competing with those whom the industry has set up for success. The second thing that came up for me really quickly was, I was thankful because my path in this industry, although challenged with other issues — being devalued as being black, the content that I make having no value — the sexual harassment part I didn't have.


Have you looked back on your own experiences through a different lens?

AKIL Let's [talk about] the Oscars and that whole institution of film festivals. Think about it: Powerful, rich men get to go to the most glamorous spots around the world to have beautiful ingenues, bejeweled and adorned in the finest of wares. They stay in these palace hotels and everyone fawns. "I'm making deals in the day and raping women at night and then I go get this award." And we keep giving it to pedophiles and other rapists.

ALLAIN It reminds me of being a person of color and the microaggressions that you just tuck away: "I know that's not true, but I'm going to move forward." I'm grateful to all of the journalists and all the inspiration that journalists have provided to us and the young people out there to get the stories out and especially to the women who came forward first.



Do you believe change is going to be real? 
AKIL Whether you say "f*ckability" or not, there is a new dynamic of thought and storytelling and images that allow for humanity beyond, "Are you f*ckable or not?" And just getting other values out there about storytelling, that's why it matters what gatekeepers are around. I think the fix is hiring more conscious people, people who want to come in and get the work done at the level we all do.
ALLAIN That's why I'm proud to be a part of ReFrame. It was founded a couple of years ago, and we brought together 50 men and women in the industry to brainstorm because we all know what we want, but how do we get there? Over days and days and weeks and months, we came up with a three-pronged approach which is: change the culture, make sure the pipeline of women and people of color is there and make the business case — which you guys are doing by showing that programs and movies featuring women and people of color make money. We're trying to engage the entire industry. Eventually, we'll have ambassadors sit down with all of the heads of the studios and agencies and talk about unconscious bias.

AKIL I think TV showrunners have one of the most powerful moments right now, just by their hiring practice in the room.
Kathy Kennedy recently gave a speech where she talked about wanting zero tolerance. Is zero tolerance the way to go? Because we are dealing with a world where guys will see women at work — and vice versa — and want to date them and maybe give it a shot. Does that mean you can't say, "Yes, I'd like to date you?"
PRESS That's a consensual relationship. That is not an abuse of power.
AKIL You're right, if a woman says yes.
PRESS A lot of women go out with people at work. A lot of people marry their bosses.
NAEGLE You work 16 hours a day, who else are you supposed to go out with?
ALLAIN We spend so much time at work, and people become attracted to each other at work. You can't just throw it all out. But the power dynamics need to be looked at better.
PRESS There is going to be a lot of, "Where is the line?" There are a lot of douchebags. But a douchebag is different than a sociopath with a clear pattern of behavior that is against the law — where there are people who are calling saying they were raped.
NAEGLE I have a lot of male friends, too, who are reacting very nervously about how they act, and I've worked with these men forever, they're extraordinary, they're wonderful, they're husbands, they are fathers. I feel like it would be a step backward if everyone believes that all of a sudden all of these workplaces or all of these companies are going to be policed. It's just respectful behavior.
AKIL It's the pause that it will take. The pause that someone will say, "Hey, is my thinking a little bit out of line, or is it this unconscious bias that I might have?" Reprogramming what we have allowed. Even language. It's very commonplace in a writers room for someone to say, "Let's gangbang this b*tch." What they mean is, "Let's all work together to write a script."
Many have suggested that Harvey was brought down because he was no longer at the top of his game. Going forward, are you optimistic or pessimistic? 
ALLAIN I'm a producer; I'm always optimistic.
PRESS Optimistic [about] what?
That we're at a turning point.
PRESS (Pauses.) Yes. I actually believe that we are here.
VERNOFF I'm optimistic.
NAEGLE I'm very optimistic.
AKIL Optimistic.
NAEGLE If Hollywood can be additionally helpful in anything, it's when these high-profile women and women whose names and faces may not be as well known to us have the bravery to come forward, the hope is optimistically that others will feel the same way and will feel the wind at their back a little bit more.
VERNOFF Our most powerful women stood up and said, "Not here, not anymore, enough of this," and that monster came tumbling down, and I am so optimistic that this is the beginning of really turning over that ornate, beautiful carpet and cleaning out that mold that's making us all sick.
AKIL It really is a call to arms to men because they're going to be the best people to talk to, to talk the language, to understand the code, to understand what's going to get other men to do the right thing — and that's hiring based upon talent and fairness and creating work environments where people can actually do their best. That is what's needed.
-CCG














A post shared by Stephanie Allain (@stephanieallain) on



Mara Brock Akil








From left: Allain, Press, THR’s Masters, Vernoff, Naegle and Akil.


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