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Voices of Inclusion: Quotes and Quips from Variety’s Diversity Summit

Variety’s Inclusion Summit drew a broad range of panelists who parsed complicated issues of diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry with equal parts reason, analysis and passion.

Here’s a sampling of comments from the daylong event held Tuesday at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills.

Kenya Barris (“Blackish” creator and showrunner)
“Let’s celebrate the work, and let’s let that lead…And the fact that it has a black cast and black people behind the camera, let’s let that be the example of what the future can be, instead of letting it be what it’s all about.”

Jo Ann Jenkins (AARP)
“A lot of this ageist attitude is self-inflicted. We all have biases.”

Sarah Ellis (GLAAD):
“It is important that we look beyond white gay men, who have been the face of the LGBTQ platform for a while.”

Gabrielle Carteris (president, SAG-AFTRA)
“We are in such support of everyone being seen as who they are. I think we’re stepping forward from just talking about it to actually doing something about it.”

Carrie Ann Inaba (“Dancing With the Stars”)
“Inclusion is not a one size fits all. When you think like that, that’s when it falls flat.”

Jamie Brewer (“American Horror Story”)
“TV allows you to experiment with different things. Experimenting within the industry will allow us to make more interesting things.”

Greg Silverman (Warner Bros.)
“My passion is giving people a chance and widening the funnel. We want to have a studio that makes everyone feel welcome and gives everyone a shot.”

Lori McCreary (producer and PGA president)
“We as producers have a responsibility because we are the ones that hire people.”

Vanessa Morrison (20th Century Fox)
“You have to see it to know that you can be it.”

Norman Lear (producer)
“I believe we are all versions of one another. As humans, we share a common humanity.”

Danielle Sanchez-Witzel (showrunner, “The Carmichael Show”)
“The audience wants to be provoked. It wants to think. It wants to have that conversation.”

Jennifer Salke
 (NBC)
“When those kinds of ideas (for stories about social issues in comedies) used to come up we used to run from it. Now it’s about finding a way to deal with it that has comedy but is authentic.”

Carmi Zlotnik (Starz)
“Finding a show that is going to talk about religion, culture and sexuality — this melting pot that is the United States — was important to us. ‘America Gods’ by its nature raises all kinds of conversations.”

(Pictured: Kenya Barris, Norman Lear, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel)

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