Why “Prisoner of Hope”? (part 2)

By now, you’ve likely heard of my new show “Prisoner of Hope.” This series follows the experiences of families healing from the effects of mass incarceration from both sides of the bars. It’s an unfiltered look at how families and communities grapple with the devastating effects of imprisonment in America. The system is broken and it’s failing thousands of people every day.

But you may be left wondering: why am I taking on such a lofty issue, and why now? I’ll explore that in the second of a three-part blog series about why this passion project fuels my soul.

It all comes down to under-representation in the entertainment business, especially when it comes to positions of leadership. According to The Los Angeles Times, UCLA released its latest Hollywood diversity report earlier this year, and the findings weren’t pretty. Despite gains in front of and behind the camera, “women and minorities remain underrepresented in film and television,” the article states. “The study also included evidence that suggests audiences tend to prefer movies and TV shows that feature relatively diverse casts.”

Per the report, women did make gains in terms of advancement in some areas. “However, they fell behind on three fronts (film writers, cable scripted leads, and digital reality and other leads) while holding their ground in the remaining two areas (digital scripted leads and broadcast scripted show creators).”

We can do better. The status quo is not OK. We have made strides when it comes to parity, but we’re not where we should be. The glass ceiling is real. We need more women coming up the ranks, like I did 26 years ago. Women in the business need mentors, coaching and someone who believes in their abilities. Today, I am both an executive producer and the talent, distinctions of which I’m proud.

But it’s not about me. It’s about building a community. That’s why I am inviting you to support my project and bolster women talent in the industry at the same time. I encourage you to share the pilot episode of “Prisoner of Hope” with your friends and family, especially on social media. Together, we can start a movement and demand the prison system make the necessary changes so we as a society can become more whole and equitable.

What are you waiting for? Tune in to the first episode of “Prisoner of Hope” today and be sure to join the conversation on my social channels.

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