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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Rewriting the script for diverse women in media

These women are the ‘reel’ deal in the media industry
Mia Huss
Here are some of the diverse women in the media industry who are making waves right now. From “Barbie” to “The Bear,” these women have starred in some of the most critically acclaimed shows and films. (Graphic created in Canva by Mia Huss)

Women of color have diversified the media in recent years, paving the way for the next generation of Black, Indigenous and people of color who want to follow in their footsteps.

Some of the most critically acclaimed films and shows in recent years feature some of the most talented and diverse actresses you won’t want to miss seeing on screen, such as Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Lily Gladstone, Ayo Edebiri, America Ferrera and Quinta Brunson.

Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson became the first Black woman to win an Emmy for the best comedic actress since 1981, for the television show “Abbott Elementary,” a show where she not only acts but produces and writes too.

In the media industry, Brunson recognizes the influence and power she has as an actress and uses her platform to raise awareness about important issues, like education.

Brunson’s inspiration for creating “Abbott Elementary” was to bring awareness to how low-income students in inner-city schools may be disadvantaged. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Brunson said she hopes to shed light on these important issues and get people to think about it.

Before producing, writing and acting in the film and TV industry, Brunson started off as a comedian in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in 2013 to produce and create content for Buzzfeed.

After creating content for Buzzfeed, Brunson had her own HBO comedy show “A Black Lady Sketch Show” where rising Black comedians would showcase their wit and improv talents. This was the beginning of her future in comedy on the big screen.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Da’Vine Joy Randolph is paving the way for Black women in the media by being unapologetically herself while setting a tone of self-love and acceptance.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph won her first Oscar on March 10, for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mary Lamb in the comedic drama film “The Holdovers.”

In Randolph’s acceptance speech at the Oscars, she lamented about finding her place in the media industry.

“For so long, I’ve always wanted to be different,” Randolph said. “Now I realize I just need to be myself, and I thank you for seeing me.”

Randolph wasn’t always an actress, though, in 2012 she started in the music industry with the Broadway musical “Ghost The Musical,” where she played Oda Mae Brown.

After Broadway, Randolph shifted to the TV and film industry playing a vast set of roles from Detective Donna Williams in the show “Only Murders in the Building” to Mahalia Jackson in the film “Rustin.”

Randolph stays true to her characters and brings attention to Black women in media throughout her diverse roles across a variety of media genres.

RELATED: 4 movies that will make you say “#yasssqueen” for Women’s History Month

Ayo Edebiri

From an admirer to icon, Ayo Edebiri is inspiring the next generation of Black actresses by following her dreams and trailblazing her way through the media industry, like her inspirations did before her.

Edebiri’s claim to fame was her role as Sydney Adamu in the Hulu original “The Bear,” but there’s more to Edebiri’s career than cooking in the kitchen with Jeremy Allen White. Edebiri has been in many comedy films and has voiced popular cartoon characters like Glory Grant in “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and Harriet Tubman in “Clone High.”

Edebiri was on the path to becoming a teacher as a student at New York University but switched her major to dramatic writing. Thus, her acting career was born.

Edebiri said in an interview with Forbes that she was naturally drawn to comedy, but seeing Black women in comedy inspired her to further follow her dreams and forget the reality of becoming a teacher.

Some of Edebiri’s notable characters are Josie Marks in the satirical comedy film “Bottoms” and Janet Walch in the mockumentary “Theater Camp”. Edebiri also joined the animated comedy show “Big Mouth” in 2020, to voice the main character Missy Foreman-Greenwald, when the original voice actor stepped away.

By diversifying her content from children’s movies, to comedy films and adult cartoons, Edebiri has proved to be an inspirational role model for the next generation.

Lily Gladstone

Lily Gladstone is opening doors for Native Americans in the media, by being the first Native American woman to win a Golden Globe in January 2024, for best actress in a motion picture drama.

Gladstone is not only a part of the Native community, but they’re also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Gladstone uses she/they pronouns and aims to diversify the film industry by breaking the gender binary and normalizing LGBTQ+ Native Americans.

The actress is known for their main role as Mollie Burkhart in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a film about the attacks on the Osage people in Oklahoma.

Additionally, Gladstone also played Hokti Sampson in “Reservation Dogs,” an FX show about what it’s like to live on a reservation as a young Native in Oklahoma.

Gladstone is representing Native history and people across the nation by not only having Blackfeet and Nez Perce heritage, but also playing Native roles in an authentic and respectful way.

America Ferrera

America Ferrera is an unwavering actress who has played some of the most relatable and influential roles in the media industry, and through her contributions has inspired Latina women across the world.

Widely known for her main role in the ABC show “Ugly Betty,” Ferrera has been playing Latina characters since the early 2000s and recently she played Gloria in the popular 2023 film “Barbie.”

Ferrera’s first major role in the industry began with the 2002 film “Real Women Have Curves,” which tells the story of a first-generation Latina teen balancing her culture and societal expectations.

Ferrera won an Emmy in the lead actress category in 2007, making her the first Latina to do so. Not only has Ferrera remained relatable and relevant throughout the years, but she has consistently inspired Latina women time and time again.

Outside of her acting career, Ferrera also wrote “American Like Me” about her experience of being the youngest of six children to Honduras immigrants and growing up as a Latina in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.

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Mia Huss
Mia Huss, A&E Staffer
(she/her) Mia is a graduating senior majoring in political science and journalism. She has worked as a freelance journalist covering local government in her hometown. This is her first semester with The State Hornet.
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