Taika Waititi believes diversity in Hollywood is “wrong” and “confusing” for everyone.
Taika spoke at The Hollywood Reporter’s Raising Our Voices event earlier this month and dove right into calling out Hollywood's confusing idea of what diversification looks like on the big and small screen.
“I think the word diversity is wrong. I think that the idea of diversification of the screen is not quite right because it’s actually confusing everyone.”
He made it clear that diversity doesn't mean cramming every single ethnicity and background into every single project.
"That's not reality, and it's not authentic. I never grew up with a group of friends where there was someone who represented every ethnic group in my group of friends. I don't know who the hell grew up like that."
According to Taika, inclusion shouldn't be forced. It should make sense within the story. Token characters? Yeah, nah. We need authentic narratives that truly represent different cultures.
"It has to make sense," he stressed. Otherwise, it can be mistaken for tokenism.
"I don't want to see one token Polynesian character in your show. What I want to see is a fully Polynesian-controlled, Polynesian story that's written by and show run by [Polynesians].”
Taika also highlighted the importance of having diverse showrunners and those behind the scenes who can spread their perspectives throughout the industry.
“Don't give us a white showrunner to tell us the rules and tell us how to do things. Let us figure it out," he said.
Taika admitted that fixing Hollywood's diversity issues won't happen overnight. Mistakes will be made along the way, but that's okay.
As long as the industry keeps striving and making genuine efforts, success will follow. It's all about putting in the work and making those authentic changes.