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TV Outside the Box by Neil Landau

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Chapter 5

Breaking Down Barriers

The New Diversity in the Digital Television Revolution

The 2015 NATPE conference in Miami brought diversity to the center stage when media, fashion, and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons sat down with Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein and declared, “No one has said more about race and politics on TV than Norman Lear in 1973.” Seriously. Think about it. Simmons was right. I was outraged. The truth resonates.

Simmons’ conversation with Wallenstein felt more like a rant. A sermon. The industry all needed a good talking to, and Simmons naturally knows first hand of what he speaks. I glanced around at the sizeable, predominantly African-American audience, and likewise listened, intent. Especially critical of Hollywood “progressives” ...

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