There’s always more to be done, Bakish explained as he detailed the initiatives that are underway across the company.
“Our goal is to be the best creators and storytellers possible,” said Bakish. “That extends to brands and content, which together share a rich history confronting bias and stigma of all kinds. That history is reflected in long-standing initiatives, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Earlier this year, BET announced Content For Change, an initiative that has since expanded across the company. Content For Change uses the massive reach of ViacomCBS’ brands and networks to create, distribute, and market content that has a positive impact on social justice issues.
On the CBS side, new targets have been mandated for diversity in writers’ rooms, and CBS announced a multi-year partnership with NAACP to create and develop diverse storytelling. The CBS News’ team has a Race & Culture Unit, which examines segments through an inclusive lens before they go on-air.
The commitment goes beyond the United States; ViacomCBS Networks International requires that all commissioned projects and productions are made by a diverse team.
Some of ViacomCBS’ ongoing programs over the years also include the ViewFinder Emerging Directors Program, Nickelodeon Writing and Artist Programs, CBS Showcase, CBS ON TOUR and CBS Writers Mentoring Program & Directing Initiative.
As the company continues to pursue these initiatives and increase its diversity, Bakish said one of the main takeaways of this moment is to make sure it doesn’t get away.
“We need to ensure that what we’re doing is durable and sustained—and not just of the moment. It’s easy for the next thing to show up, because that’s the world we live in,” he said. “This is too important to get lost.”