Aziz Ansari thanked Netflix for getting 'what diversity really is' in a candid speech.

Aziz Ansari is the co-creator and star of "Master of None," a show that's pretty revolutionary for a sad reason: It actually reflects the diversity of the real world.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.


"Master of None" has a diverse cast in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

And that's not as common as it should be in Hollywood.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.

So when Ansari was honored at the Peabody Awards on May 21, 2016, he gave thanks where thanks was due.

"I want to thank Netflix and Universal for believing in us and letting us tell our stories," he said.

"I think they really seem to get what diversity really is. It's not, 'Hey, let's give this white protagonist a brown friend!' No. It's, 'Let's have a show where there's a token white guy.' And that's what [our show] is."

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Peabody.

In an entertainment landscape still embarrassingly homogenous (behind and in front of the camera) Ansari is right: Netflix stands out.

Hollywood tends to create content that's overwhelming white, heterosexual, and told through the male perspective (didn't you watch the Oscars this year?). In Netflix's original programming, however, you'll find quite a few projects that buck the trend.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black." Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

Series like "Orange Is the New Black," "Narcos," and "Master of None" prove TV can certainly be successful, sans-white leads. Superheroine "Jessica Jones" is breaking down gender stereotypes when it comes to action series. "Sense8" is piling on awards for its groundbreaking inclusion of LGBT characters and themes. And it says a lot that the company's first original theatrical film"Beasts of No Nation," starring Idris Elba — featured an all-black cast.

"We’re programming for diverse and eclectic tastes and for an increasingly global audience," Cindy Holland, Netflix's vice president of original content, told Variety. "So the folks working on those titles and the folks here at Netflix serving those consumers have to increasingly be more reflective of the audience we serve and the programs we make. It’s something we’re very focused on."

Idris Elba at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

It's not just Netflix, either. Other streaming services — namely, Hulu and Amazon Prime — can boast relatively diverse original content as well, with hits like "Transparent," "The Mindy Project," and "Difficult People" breaking the mold.

Still, across virtually all platforms (streaming or not), there's ample room for improvement.

Thankfully, diversity in television is, slowly but surely, getting better (to Ansari's delight, I'm sure).

Although streaming companies have largely led the push for change, network TV is beginning to come around.

But could this desire for diversity simply be a hot trend that'll surely fade?

That's a firm, "no" from Holland, who said Netflix is "absolutely" committed to making its programming even more diverse. It seems like they're not alone.

Diversity on TV shouldn't be all that revolutionary. But until it isn't, at least we have Ansari's candid acceptance speeches to look forward to.

Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Variety.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less
Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less