Well it's. About. Dang. Time.
Seeing as how only 4% of writers in Hollywood are of color, it may have occurred to someone by now that there should be some sort of networking resource for writers floating around the web somewhere. Well, lucky for us there now is.
According to Sheila Wilson, a member of the Writer Guild of America (WGA) the WGA's Committee of Black Writers have curated what we believe to be a working list of all of the black writers in the WGA. This guide, formally known as "The Black Book," is purposed to provide direct staffing information for showrunners and film executives in need of black writers to staff. Because if we're being honest, the whole "we want black writers but don't know where to find them" thing is played.
The list, which was recently made public (for viewing not editing of course) is crafted from a simple google doc sheet, with several columns that describe the writer's name, preferred genre of expertise, most recent staffing level, credits that are relevant to the writers profile, and an "about me" section, where readers can get a better sense of who each writer is as a person.
As amazing as this idea is, we hate that the numbers are still dramatically low. According to the official report from the WGA in 2014, the total member count landed at 8,704 writers. The current count for black writers noted in "The Black Book" comes in at a slim 70. Out of at least 8,000. Now although the list is still new, and therefore incomplete, and although that member count is from 2014 (which probably means the current number is higher,) the fact of the matter is, there just aren't enough black writers that are both being hired, or in the executive ranks to make such hiring decisions. We need more representation for both unionized writers and those that are not represented. Period.
This idea is AMAAZZIINNGG, and truly commendable for what ever brain or collective brains were behind starting " The Black Book." It then begets the question: can something like this be done on a smaller scale? What about for artists in Chicago? Something like this could potentially minimize the seemingly grandiose industry that is film, connecting unrepresented, nonunion writers to filmmakers in the independent film, TV and web series circuit. How dope would that be?
Hm, maybe we should get on that. Welp, until then.