For those who were at the Diversity Panel moderated by Big Llou Johnson at VOICE 2010, it was hard to leave unmoved spiritually or emotionally.
The panel explored issues that some people in this industry prefer not to acknowledge resulting in a new understanding of the struggles and prejudices that minorities, specifically people of colour, face when on the job.
Herb Merriweather was also in attendance at this breakthrough panel and has some thoughts to share with us in today’s VOX Daily.
Diversity… and Parity?
By Herb Merriweather
One of the most powerful segments of VOICE 2010 for me was the open forum panel discussion on Diversity In Voice Over. Hosted by Big Llou Johnson (on-screen and voice talent, producer and talent agent) and paneled by such industry giants as Dave Fennoy, Vanessa Lanier (Grossman & Jack Talent Agency), John Garry, Zurek Speaks and Saro Solis (Esp./Eng Voice Over)–it was a discussion at times poignant and at times passionate when dealing with issues that are evident… even in the voice over world.
There were stories of poor vocal direction (‘…could you sound a little more–insert ethnicity here–please…’), jobs lost and rejection suffered once people actually saw the voice.
They also dealt (albeit briefly) with the lack of female voice actors who do such fare as movie trailers and sporting events. It was truly evident that there is much work still to be done in the area of achieving parity in the midst of diversity.
But there were also stories of groundbreaking achievements and moments of victory that were birthed by hard work, focus and a sincere desire to succeed by being the best ‘you’ you can be.
While listening to the people on this panel it became evident that there is a future for a stronger bond among voice actors and people who are sensitive to the issues we all face. Some of the most instantly familiar and recognizable voices in the world flowed from that stage–and they were ALL so-called minorities–but in the words of Ringo Starr ‘…it don’t come easy…’!
The most interesting aspect of voice over is that very few of us actually look the way we sound–and as actors, we are constantly changing the way we sound to fit whatever character we are portraying.
Once we all learn to stop seeing so much and begin to perceive what’s important, then parity can be reached.
“Don’t judge (decide) according to appearance but judge (decide) with righteous judgment (Fair decision).” John 7:24
If you’d like to share your thoughts with Herb or on the topic of diversity, you can add a comment here on this posting to join the conversation.