More diversity in Hallmark holiday movies: are the attempts made enough?

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Imogen Rogers

Holly Robinson Peete (left) and Patti Labelle (right) are the lead actresses in ‘A Family Christmas Gift’ (2019).

Hallmark’s holiday plots are known to be incredibly parallel to one another, and while a significant amount of the nation is entertained, the festive story lines aren’t the only aspect lacking diversity.

“From my knowledge, Hallmark families are usually straight and white,” said Sarah Baer (‘22).

As the mass media has strongly progressed in diversity, this conservative company has largely stuck to its roots. 

“I feel that people of color, especially Chinese, Japanese and Indian groups, are underrepresented,” said Baer.

Hallmark has not been entirely oblivious to this, and made impressive strides in diversity since 2015.

“Crown Media Family Networks recognized the need for more racially diverse talent and featured more actors of color than ever before in the 2018 lineup of original Hallmark Channel holiday movies,” said corporate.hallmark.com.

Four women of color made starring roles in 2018 out of 38 films, along with main or even side characters as well, though diversity has been more prominent in those roles pre-2018. These women are Jerrika Hinton, Christina Milian, Tia Mowry-Hardrict, and Tatyana Ali. Ali even starred in that year’s Hallmark Hall of Fame film, “Christmas Everlasting.”

Now stands a tricky question: should Hallmark remain comfortable in its conservative success, entertaining the same audience it’s been able to maintain for nearly 20 years, or begin expanding their casting and audience to appeal to different demographics?

The short general answer can be found in the fact that Generation Z seems to always be pushing for more diversity in television and media.

“Representation in the media is key to equality and people’s perceptions of certain races. More diversity in this company could help to further erase stereotypes and result in a better understanding of racial backgrounds,” said Baer.