Monday, July 3, 2017

Hallmark Channel Movies and the Lack of Diversity

I used to love watching the Hallmark channel movies because they were fun, charming and romantic. I may occasional watch one of my favorites every now and then if it airs but I no longer watch any of the new movies. The main reason I stopped watching them is the continued lack of diversity. Why is it that Hallmark's cards and commercials can feature an array of diversity but not their movies?

The movies are so cookie cutter and predictable there is nothing that would change the plot of the movies if they were more diverse. I noticed that a person of color (Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino/Mexican, etc.) can be the best friend, co-worker, etc. but they are rarely if ever cast as the main character in the movies. Unfortunately, supporting or background characters are generally the standard role.

There are a few exceptions with Jessica Parker Kennedy cast as one of the newlyweds in the Nearlyweds movie (2013). As well as Meghan Markle cast in When Sparks Fly (2014) and Dater's Handbook (2016) and Jessica Szohr in Lucky in Love (2014) but something I've noticed is that when a person of color is cast as the lead it someone whose appearance is perhaps racially ambiguous. I guess it's some progress that these amazing actresses were cast at all but it's not enough in regards to Hallmark's diversity problem especially since the company has two channels and has created hundreds if not thousands of movies.

And it's not only about racial diversity, what about someone who has a disability or someone who is LGBTQ+ leading a movie. I find it interesting that Hallmark doesn't have a problem hiring LGBTQ+ actors because in the Christmas movie Naughty or Nice, Meredith Baxter and Matt Dallas were cast but so far there has been no movies with someone as the main character.

Falling in love, dealing with family drama or solving mysteries shouldn't be only showcased by white, heterosexuality and ableism. Not to mention there is also religious diversity, not everyone is Christian.

It's so frustrating because Hallmark will recast or rotate actors instead of casting someone new for a lead role. Why is Hallmark so afraid of diversity for their movies? It's a shame because the theme for their movies is universal and diversity and inclusion should be something celebrated with the movies reflecting that.

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