African Americans & People of Color Boycott Hallmark Channel Christmas Movies
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For all Christmas fanatics and those who are just as captivated by the Spirit of Christmas as I am. You know that Christmas is about Christ, Peace, Love, Family and Unity. Many of us watch the Hallmark Channel specifically during the Holiday Season beginning October, because their Christmas Movies and Countdown to Christmas reminds us of Warm Memories, Christmases Spent with our families Growing Up, and how wholesome life can still be if we all embrace the spirit of the season year round. Many of us make this a family tradition as we light our fireplaces, sip our Hot Cocoa, kick our feet up and anxiously await the Grand Reveal of Hallmark Christmas Movies for the current holiday season.
With the above stated, it has brought many of us discomfort, particularly African Americans and People of Color, to notice an unsettling pattern every year of Hallmark Channel airing a plethora of wholesome movies with a disproportionate reflection of African Americans and People of Color. It is also apparent to others all over the country who are now utilizing social media outlets to vent their frustration and disappointment regarding this specific issue with the Hallmark Network. The US Census Bureau reports that our great country is comprised of estimated 64% White, 13% Black, 16% Hispanic, 5% Asian, 2% Two or More Races. In a study from the Pew Research Center, “Importance of religion in one's life among Christians by race/ethnicity”, it was revealed that those who found it Very Important (the highest level of importance) African Americans ranked the highest at 84%, followed by Other/Mixed 72%, Latinos/Hispanics 69%, Whites at 64%, Asians 64%. This finding also revealed that African American women outranked men.
Based on these statistics, it is logical to assume that African Americans and People of Color faithfully celebrate Christmas; which brings us to safely conclude that African Americans and People of Color are major viewers of your Christmas movies. Yet Hallmark Channel, year after year refuses to display African Americans and People of Color at a proportionate rate and continues to ignore the fact that a multitude of African Americans and People of Color celebrate and are consumed in the Spirit of Christmas; statistically more than our White brothers and sisters. A majority of Hallmark Channel’s Christmas Movie lineup viewers are unsurprisingly women as a majority of their movies are about the holiday and romance. We know that African American women and women of color are the majority who deem the Christian Faith as very important (as statistically proven); and get this, a great deal of us are also hopeless romantics! Wouldn’t it be fitting to represent us appropriately in your lineup?
For years while already uplifted by the Spirit of the Holidays and memories of how beautifully my family celebrated and engaged in the Holiday Season, myself and thousands of other African Americans and People of Color have watched your network for your Christmas Movies and Countdown to Christmas lineup. It always made me reflect on the moments of the season that captured my heart as a child and adult from my parents lighting the fireplace, filling our home with the potpourri aroma of evergreen and spices, decorating our house decked out with adorned Christmas trees, lights, nativity scenes inside and out, reading my brother and I “The Night Before Christmas”, sticking the Countdown to Christmas Calendar on our door, bundling us up so tight and snug in our Christmas snowsuits to take us sledding, annual visits to the “North Pole” to see and take a picture with Santa Claus, parents hiding the Gifts and eating the cookies we baked the night before Christmas so that we could wake up and appreciate that Santa stopped by, hosting Christmas Eve family gatherings and gift exchanges, to Midnight Mass at our church Home and waking up to find an assortment of gifts spread across our Living Room. I pass these traditions down to my child.
Throughout the years of watching the Hallmark Network for the Christmas Movies, more and more I found myself celebrating each time I saw an African American or person of Color as a lead or in the forefront. This shouldn't be the case. It is now apparent to myself and hundreds of thousands of Americans that Hallmark Channel is not interested in utilizing its platform to show an accurate reflection of America and what the Spirit of Christmas is genuinely all about.
We find it very disheartening to notice every year a station that claims to capture the essence and true meaning of Christmas falls short by neglecting to include a proportionate reflection of African Americans and People of Color continually under representing us.
-This is the generic response by Hallmark Channel representatives each time a person inquires about this diversity issue (as seen on Facebook):
[by Hallmark Channel USA - We're pleased to let you know that we have several movies that feature diverse actors in prominent roles. For example, we have Alexa and Carlos PenaVega starring in "Enchanted Christmas," Holly Robinson-Peete in co-stars in “Reindeer Games" and Sheryl Lee Ralph in "Christmas at Holly Lodge."Our commitment to diversity doesn't end with Countdown to Christmas. In 2018, we are adding a mystery series "The Midnight Show Murders" from Al Roker, a docu-series "Meet the Peetes" and more to be announced soon as we focus on diversity in three areas: in front of the camera, behind the scenes and in the community.]
This is unacceptable and as equally unacceptable as your 2017 Countdown to Christmas lineup which displays 2 out of 20 movies featuring a Person of Color as the lead backed by yet again a majority white cast. Not only do People of Color realize this, but our White brothers and sisters have also made reference to this issue. Obviously, the (3) movies you continue to mention in your default message out of hundreds that your network broadcasts continuously throughout the holiday season quite frankly is insulting. Please do better.
We understand that your Christmas Movies from October through January accumulate your largest annual revenue from advertising dollars. Advertising dollars are acquired through ratings. When viewership levels drop, ratings drop. African Americans and People of Color; especially women, make up a great deal of your ratings.
Until this is handled, myself and others like me who support positive growth and inclusion in America will not watch Hallmark Channel, primarily during the Holiday Season. We will stand strong until Hallmark Network makes a true concerted effort to use its platform to support and celebrate Diversity by taking action to practice Diversity and include African Americans and People of Color in a Proportionate Reflection in your Christmas Movie Lineups and Countdown to Christmas.
Though this issue may seem small, it is the principle of the matter at hand at which African Americans and People of Color are being blatantly ignored and dismissed on your network as if we don’t matter. Placing a “Token Person of Color” throughout your movies here and there doesn’t make for compensation or justification to this problematic issue. It is uncomfortable that your network is comfortable year after year ignoring a great deal of your fans and viewers.
With this boycott, we hope that 2018 brings a positive change to Hallmark Christmas Movies and Countdown to Christmas. Thank you for your time and we look forward to a Proportionate Lineup of African Americans and People of Color Leading Cast and Cast members in your 2018 Christmas Movie Lineup and beyond. We all makeup, encompass, and keep “The Heart of Christmas" beating; please remember this every time your network chooses to utilize this slogan.
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