We’re The Kusp, a social enterprise that ‘serves the underserved’ within fashion, film and television. We’re on a mission to level the playing field for diverse and under-represented creatives from ethnic minority and working-class backgrounds, by creating opportunities for them to achieve their full potential in these industries through masterclasses, industry mentoring and talent sourcing.
We embarked on this mission back in 2019, after realising that representation of ethnic minorities and women from working-class backgrounds needed to be addressed – and it still does. A recent report by the Creative Industries Policies and Evidence Centre revealed that just 16% of people working in the creative industries are from working-class backgrounds. In film & television the proportion of minority ethnic talent working behind-the-scenes fell to 11.8% last year, down from 12.3% in 2019. Women were particularly poorly represented in the role of directors (29%) and writers (33.4%). It feels like the industry is regressing in this area.
As co-founders, Amos and Anokhi, feel passionate about seeing change in these industries, and pinpoint the barriers they’ve witnessed. Amos highlights that “Who you know impacts the opportunities you have access to in the creative industry, and if you haven’t got access to these networks, you often miss out or your career progression is drastically slowed. This is so often the case for talent from ethnic minority or working-class backgrounds, whereas creatives from more ‘privileged’ circles excel”. Unfortunately, this contributes to the lack of representation we see in the industry, particularly at trainee-level. Anokhi also adds, “This lack of representation often comes down to unconscious affinity biases within the hiring process and the use of unpaid work experience which allows those from affluent backgrounds to flourish”.
We know that trying to level the playing field for diverse creatives without the support of industry is almost impossible, so you can imagine how delighted we were when Somesuch decided to embark on a one-year partnership with us in September 2020. This included industry-mentoring, fully-funded masterclasses, portfolio review sessions and memberships for creatives that wouldn’t have been able to access such opportunities previously – particularly, during this pandemic.
Director: Paisley Valentine Walsh
I See You
Directed by Josh Bridge. (@_joshbridge).
Co-produced by Melissa Mensah (@melissanco_)
Written & directed by Saraphina Mattis
Co-Director – Israel Peters
Executive Producer – Kashif Boothe
A YOCF, Method Film, Kashif Boothe Entertainment, Phina Film