Warner Bros. chairman and chief executive Kevin Tsujihara received the Visionary Leadership Award on Tuesday and gave a speech promoting diversity in the workplace. Tsujihara himself is the first Asian American to head a major Hollywood studio.
"To maintain our relevance and creative excellence we need to work with new voices to tell new stories, stories that reflect a global perspective, from the faces we see on screen to those writing the scripts and on set, or making the magic happen in the editing room."
Tsujihara cited the success of films including The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians, which were US-Chinese co-productions, with the latter having an all Asian cast, as being good for the wallet.
"Diversity not only feels good; it is good for the bottom line."
He also said that Hollywood needs to take after other entertainment mediums which are able to look past race.
"Every other global entertainment medium – professional sports, social media, music, other genres – transcend race. Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Awkwafina all have appeal beyond borders and beyond labels, but somehow in movies we haven't been able to make that leap. We say that certain genres of film don't travel well, or that international audiences aren't open to diverse leads. It is incumbent on the entire entertainment industry to stop making excuses for self-fulfilling prophecies, and instead get creative about the way we market diverse content to global audiences....We share a common humanity, especially in these perilous times."