How Diversify Photo and Black Disabled Creatives used Google tools to build resources for equity in the creative world
Photographer credit (left to right): Imani Khayyam, Jermaine Jackson Jr., Kendall Bessent, Da'Shaunae Marisa, Lauren Crew, Ike Abakah
The power of technology to create new opportunities was never more evident than in the summer of 2020. As the world was undergoing pandemic lockdowns and demands for racial equity echoed, two organizations – Diversify Photo and Black Disabled Creatives – were building public databases of the artists and innovators often left out from the creative world because of the color of their skin and/or their physical abilities. These databases, built by word of mouth through Google Sheets and Google Forms, have grown into incredible resources to help amplify and ensure these voices are heard.
Below are highlights from a conversation between the founder of Black Disabled Creatives, Jillian Mercado, and the co-founder of Diversify Photo Brent Lewis. The conversation was led by filmmaker and producer Crystal Emery who helped discuss how creative industries can work to ensure systemic biases don’t lead them to overlook incredible talent.
The conversation has been edited for clarity and is accompanied by audio recordings and transcripts for accessibility.