In late January, Jennifer Holness was interviewed by Kayla McLean of Global News to speak on the systematic racism that exist in the film industry and the uprising of the Black Academy, founded by brothers, Shamier Anderson and Stephan James of Scarborough.
Very little data exists on Black creators both behind and on the screen in Canada. The statistics that do exist paint a troubling picture.
Racialized and Black communities make up about 22 per cent of the population in this country. But according to the Black Screen Office, in the history of television broadcasting, only five shows led by Black creatives have made it onto Canadian television.
“Think about all we’ve lost. Think about the stories that haven’t been told, think about the people with the talent that we haven’t seen… because of this patriarchal society that didn’t see our humanity, that didn’t believe that our stories mattered,” Jennifer Holness, an award-winning Canadian writer and producer, told Global News.
The 20-year veteran says the film industry in Canada has a long history of systemic racism, which is upheld by white gatekeepers, and has shut out Black Canadian creatives.
“We were told that if we wanted to get more funding, we should make a Canadian story. That’s systemic because they’re saying that a Black Canadian with Jamaican roots who wants to tell a story that envelops … a broader world, that is not a Canadian story,” said Holness.
Source: Global News