A new online movement is encouraging showrunners and writers to share photos of their writers’ rooms through social media, complete with the hashtag #ShowUsYourRoom, in order to reveal which shows are actually hiring with diversity and inclusion in mind.
Founded by Amanda Idoko, a writer for upcoming the animated series “Central Park,” the initiative was launched to see who’s practicing what they preach. “This is a time where everyone is talking about diversity and inclusion,” she tells Variety. “Everyone’s saying they’re promoting diversity and inclusion, but every year the numbers are the same. People are saying they want diversity and inclusion but not actually fighting for it.”
After seeing the 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report, Idoko knew that she needed to take action and make a difference. In the report, 168 films and over 1200 television shows were examined to determine minorities’ role both in front of and behind the camera. Inclusive representation was found to be lacking in significant areas such as creators of series, credited writers of cable series, and lead actors on cable series.
“Things aren’t changing because all of these studies and statistics are anonymous. Simply classifying lack of diversity as an industry-wide problem takes away personal accountability and personal incentive for people to actually stand up and fix the problem,” Idoko says.
With #ShowUsYourRoom, Idoko is challenging others to become aware of the diversity, or lack thereof, within their writers’ rooms. “If you find yourself in the position that you’re in an all-white room, that should be a wake-up call for you. If you are scared to show a picture of your room, I think that’s a problem,” she says. “So if people have a moment of, ‘Oh I would be embarrassed to post a picture of my room,’ maybe [they] should make some changes.”
Idoko began the initiative by posting a picture of her and her co-workers from the “Central Park” writers’ room. “Being in a diverse room means not carrying the exhausting weight of being the only. It means working in a space that looks the way the world does. I’m proud of the way my room looks. Are you? If so, let’s see it :),” she states on Twitter.
Being in a diverse room means not carrying the exhausting weight of being the only. It means working in a space that looks the way the world does. I’m proud of the way my room looks. Are you? If so, let’s see it 🙂 #ShowUsYourRoom #ShowUsYourRoomChallenge #RepresentationMatters pic.twitter.com/FMAhjisHwy
— Amanda Idoko (@amidoko) September 18, 2018
Following her post, series such as Empire, Insecure, Queen Sugar, 13 Reasons Why, Ambitions, The Last OG, Power, and multiple others have contributed to the challenge by sharing their diverse rooms.
— Gary Lennon (@GaryPLennon) September 18, 2018
— Empire Writers (@EmpireWriters) September 18, 2018
#RepresentationMatters in TV writers’ rooms! Proud to be a part of the @Netflix @13ReasonsWhy writing staff. Writers’ rooms… join us in this effort to promote diversity and #showusyourroom! #showusyourroomchallenge #diversitymatters #13ReasonsWhy @showusyourroom pic.twitter.com/sh9G1Bk25f
— Felischa Marye (@felischa) September 18, 2018
Hey @amidoko! I’m So proud of the amazing writing team behind the upcoming @OWNTV show #Ambitions!!! #ShowUsYourRoom #ShowUsYourRoomChallenge #DiverseWriters #RepresentationMatters pic.twitter.com/PMzfsiRgkd
— Will Packer (@willpowerpacker) September 18, 2018
Representation matters, and this social media initiative is revealing the beauty of diversity. The hashtag is a joint project between Idoko and the WGA Committee of Black Writers’ Inclusion and Equity Subcommittee, so there’s a strong possibility that this movement will help to promote hiring more writers of color.
“I don’t think this is only a problem with writers’ rooms,” she says. “My hope is that agencies and studios post pictures of their rooms because that is where decisions are made, but also … let’s have hospital boards and law firms and corporations — let’s see what all of these rooms look like because the room where it happens should be diverse. … I feel like the public has a right to know what all of these places look like and if they look like the way the world does.”