Graduate Blog / Graduate Admissions

Meet Babson Black MBA: Diversity in the Entertainment Industry


My name is Mark Gagliardi (first on the left); I’m 26, a two year MBA student at Babson, and from Lynnfield, Massachusetts. I’m the VP of Finance for Babson Black MBA (BBMBA).

Before coming to school, I had been living in New York City and working for a Top-Tiered Broadway General Management Firm. I immersed myself in entertainment at all times. With anywhere between 30 and 40 new Broadway shows opening each year, I was able to see it all; every story was being told. In the entertainment community as of late, a big flag is being raised to the industry in regards to how they’re incorporating people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors. The New York Times recently posted back in September an article of how we as a Broadway community have FINALLY started catching up to incorporating more ethnicities and diversity as a whole. We are now not just hiring the “token” ethnic member of the cast; we are making the minority into the majority. With various shows like “The Color Purple,” “On Your Feet!,” “Allegiance,” and “Hamilton” popping up this season, we are continuing the tradition of theater, but now with more faces, more color, more shapes and sizes. We are opening up more pathways for Black, Latin, and Asian actors to tell their story.

Now cut to recent news. If you have flipped on the television, or opened up a laptop, you have seen the chaos regarding another white-wash of nominations for the Oscars. These nominees, although talented and wonderful and deserving, are all the same color. There has been no inclusion of diversity in any of the major nominees. At this point in time, we have to ask ourselves, what went wrong? We had so many mixed and beautiful casts for various Movies and TV Shows, so where is there nomination? Who forgot them? Why were they forgotten? Why isn’t there enough space for them?

Most importantly, another question we ask is, Why has this torn people apart? If you have watched the snippets of interviews on FOX or Huffington Post, actresses like Janet Hubert, Gabrielle Union, and Stacey Dash are against each other and their opinions of how the Black Community should be portrayed. Stacey Dash in specific has obtained major backlash from the community because she believes the Black community needs to get rid of media like BET and the BET Awards. She clearly does not have her priorities straight. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but because FOX is paying her, and FOX and VIACOM are competing TV network conglomerates, she was told to say things like that. Does she mean it? Who knows. They were terrible statements made, to BET, to her friends, to her fans, and to her family. She shut down her whole community. What was she thinking? Where was her head in that moment? How quickly she forgets that before she was getting paid by FOX, she too was getting paid by BET. How quickly loyalties have changed….

As a member of BBMBA, this is a constant reminder that there is work to be done in order to tell everyone’s story. There is more than just one perspective. There are many perspectives. Whether we are in the entertainment industry, at Babson, or wherever, we are here to help make sure every story is told and accounted for, especially to those who fall silent. In this case, Silence is not Golden.

This post is part three of a series from Babson Black MBA’s leadership team. Check out the last post here.  And keep up with BBMBA on their Facebook page.