Changing Lenses in Hollywood - The Impact of Diverse Perspectives

Saturday, September 24
3:15 - 4:30 PM
College Hall 200
About this Session:This year's Oscar boycott catalyzed a movement for greater diversity of actors and actresses in leading roles. As America is becomes increasingly diverse, how is Hollywood responding? What aspects of the TV and film industry have created this lack of diversity, and what can be done to create more inclusion for underrepresented minorities?

Featured Speakers

Alonzo Brown

Producer, Screenwriter, and CEO
Brown Communications


Alonzo Brown has had a diverse career in the entertainment industry as a film and television producer, screenwriter, author, record executive, and rap artist. In the early 80’s as hip hop began in the streets of New York, Alonzo became one of it’s pioneers, creating the group Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde along with music mogul Andre Harrell. Alonzo transitioned into other areas of the music industry as a General Manager of Cold Chillin’ Records, Director of Publicity of Urban Music at Warner Brothers, and VP of A&R at A&M Records.

Reuniting with his former rap partner, André Harrell, Alonzo was named President of Uptown Film and Television where he helped developed the groundbreaking TV show “New York Undercover” for Fox Television. He went on to create and produce “My Cousin Skeeter” for Nickelodeon starring Bill Bellamy, and the music driven syndicated series “Motown Live”. In 1999 he discovered judge Greg Mathis and created “The Judge Mathis” court TV show, where he is an Executive Producer as the show celebrates it’s 17th year on the air. Alonzo also wrote the script for the film “Honey”, launching the career of actress Jessica Alba.

Alonzo is currently developing a number of projects through his production company, Brown Communications; writing his memoir, “Harlem World”; and developing the internet’s first audiobook site devoted to people of color called “Bijou”.

Peter Decherney

Professor of Cinema and Media Studies
University of Pennsylvania


Peter Decherney is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School. He is the author or editor of five books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction. He is co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Media Communication and has testified before the Copyright Office of the United States and filed amicus briefs in several cases, including the Supreme Court Case of Golan v. Holder. Prof. Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar. He has won multiple teaching awards at Penn, and he is a contributor.

Tanya McRae C'89 James Brister Society Member - Moderator

Television Producer


Tanya McRae received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at PENN.  She’s an Emmy Award winning television producer with a diverse background in television production and news.
Tanya has worked in a variety of unscripted television genres including reality, lifestyle, travel, entertainment, live events and talk shows. She's also been nominated for two Emmy Awards as an investigative news reporter.
Tanya’s first job after graduating from PENN was at ABC World News Tonight and Nightline in New York as an Assignment Desk Assistant.   Since then she’s worked as a producer, writer, field director, host, reporter, executive producer and show runner.  Her credits include shows on all 4 major broadcast networks, as well as many cable networks such as Bravo, Travel Channel, Lifetime, OWN, TLC, Oxygen, A & E, and MTV.

The most recent television series Tanya has produced were: “Bring It” on Lifetime Television; “For Peete’s Sake” on OWN - the Oprah Winfrey Network; and a new series for TLC called “Little Miss Atlanta”. All three shows had entirely African American casts.

Tanya is also the founder and president of Amazonia Productions, which creates and produces original programming for television.

Wesley Morris

American Journalist
Critic at Large for the New York Times


Wesley Morris is an American journalist and Critic at Large for the New York Times. Morris is a former full-time writer for the website Grantland. He won the annual Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his 2011 work with The Boston Globe--the fifth film critic to win the award--citing "his smart, inventive film criticism, distinguished by pinpoint prose and an easy traverse between the art house and the big-screen box office".

Morris previously worked as a film critic at The Boston Globe, where he reviewed films alongside Ty Burr. Morris and Burr also made regular appearances on NECN to discuss the latest films and do the weekly Take Two film review video series on

Before joining the Globe, he wrote film reviews and essays for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is featured in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism discussing the impact of video store shopping on the importance of film criticism, and how critic Harry Knowles started a questionable revolution of amateurs writing film criticism.

Morris was born in Philadelphia and grew up there. He graduated from Yale University in 1997 and lived in Boston as of 2012. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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