Representation in Casting Panel

with Kesha Monk, Jean-François Donaldson and Tre Mosley

Get ready for an in-depth, candid conversation about representation. Voiceover artists Jean-François Donaldson and Tre Mosley join Anne and her guest co-host Kesha Monk for an enlightening panel discussion! The panelists talk about what representation means, the importance of authenticity, and why the “default American” sound cannot/should not be limited. Not only will this episode help shed light on an important issue, but it also provides examples to help listeners appreciate the impact of microaggressions. Listen if you want to learn more about how you can be a true ally.


Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. We have to change what we think of as “default” in voiceover

  2. Black actors tend to get pigeonholed and only considered for Black roles

  3. It’s going to take people on the inside speaking up to change the industry

  4. People of color are getting overlooked in casting

  5. Too often BIPOC talent have to be significantly “better” than white talent to get the same role

  6. Casting directors will go for what they assume is “safe” or “default”, which traditionally has been a “white voice”

  7. Casting directors tend to think white women are “relatable” and those who buy most consumer products

  8. BIPOC people are also consumers, so it’s time that advertising voices reflect this

  9. When a casting call goes out with general specs, casting directors should include people of color 

  10. Casting often neglects to include diverse talent because white has been “the norm” for so long

  11. It’s a sign of privilege to say you don’t see color

  12. It is WRONG to pretend to be African American even in a character role. Black is not a character trait or a voice. It is a race

  13. To be an ally means as a white person, you don’t audition for BIPOC roles

  14. White people must hold other white people accountable in order to move forward

  15. Black actors are available to play Black characters, it’s time they get hired

  16. A majority of characters are written by white people, so the “default” character is white

  17. We need to get to a point where Black people can be seen as “people” and not just “Black people”

  18. Black people MUST be hired to do Black characters because these characters are dealing with struggles that are unique to the Black community

  19. When you hire a BIPOC person, they can tell you if your script accurately represents the life of a BIPOC person

  20. A White person will never be able to accurately tell the story of a BIPOC person

  21. Black is not an accent. You can change your accent, you cannot change your race. They are not the same

  22. Telling a Black person they speak “well” is offensive and racist. Just because someone speaks differently, does not mean they are not intelligent

  23. Oftentimes Black actors will be asked be “be more Black” or more “urban”

  24. It’s offensive to ask a Black person to be “more Black”. Let the Black actor show you what they sound like. Let them be authentic

  25. Let Black people play the girl or guy next door

  26. Representation matters, true allyship matters

  27. White folks need to listen and take action, instead of sitting idly

  28. White people need to be responsible for their own education instead of always asking their Black friends

  29. If you like Black culture, but don’t like Black people, you are racist and part of the problem

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White voice actors need to speak up and be #BOSSALLIES! #VOBOSS

This important panel talks about the importance of changing what we consider to be the default! #VOBOSS

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Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Jean-François Donaldson

  2. Tre Mosley

  3. KESHA

  4. VOICEOVER

  5. LIVE ANNOUNCER

  6. Check out Mafia 3 here

  7. Tik Tok suppresses Black creators

  8. The Black artists who inspired Elvis

  9. Recorded on ipDTL

Full Episode Transcript

It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, and today I have a very special panel of guests here to talk about representation in voiceover. I’d like to first welcome back my amazing guest co-host for the past 13 weeks, and it has just —

Kesha: Jesus.

Anne: — flown by. I know, right? The lovely and super talented Kesha Monk.

Kesha: How the heck are you?

Anne: Kesha.

Kesha: What’s goin’ on? [laughs]

Anne: I’m doin’ good. The time has flown by, and I’m gonna, I’m just gonna say, I’m gonna miss you already.

Kesha: It’s all good. I ain’t goin’ nowhere. I’m right here.

Anne: Thank you so much for this amazing time that we’ve had together for the past few weeks.

Kesha: Yes, ma’am.

Anne: I’d also like — yeah — I’d also like to welcome Jean-François Donaldson, AKA The Deep Voice Guy. He has been in the business for over a decade and is the voice of companies such as Zataran’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cerave, Church’s Chicken, and many others. And I’d love to hear him expand on those others as well. And of course another guest panelist, Mr. Tre Mosley who has been a voice actor since 2009. You can hear him in promos for ABC, Comedy Central, NASCAR, the MLB Network, CNN, Smithsonian, HBO, ESPN, and the list goes on. And he’s also the voice of DJ Tre Mo in the Superstar KO Mode for Madden 2021, and I hear there’s some congratulations in order for 2022.

Jean-François: How we doin’?

[Anne and Kesha laugh]

Anne: First of all, thank you so, so very much for all of you for joining me today. I am truly grateful for all of you willing to be here — I know you guys are busy — to talk about what I consider to be a very important and timely topic, which has certainly been affecting our industry. There’s been a lot of talk, and it’s affected the world too. My hope here is to have an honest discussion so that we might help shed some light on issues that are surrounding representation in this industry.

Kesha: Listen, listen, if you’re looking for honesty, you couldn’t get more honest than Tre and Jean-François, trust me when I tell you.

Anne: [laughs]

Kesha: Believe me!

Anne: And I’m hoping to help, you know, hoping to help inspire our listeners and everyone to create positive change. I guess the first question that I have for you guys is what is it that you see as the biggest issue concerning representation in voiceover today?

Jean-François: [laughs] I guess I could start a little bit on the aspect of changing the mindset of what is the normal or default person or America or sound, and realizing that there are many different facets to that, and letting those other people again just be involved at the, at the start, the middle and the end, and not just thinking of them as a group to pander to. So when we have, you know, situations where we don’t hear ourselves or see ourselves until they want something from us.

Kesha: My problem is that it has been somewhat limited. I will admit though that, I mean I have seen, felt, and smelt a little bit of change. And I guess, you know, I think that that, there is some progress. I’m not necessarily sure if I’ll be alive to see this entire problem be solved all together. I just think that [laughs] that’s just basically how the world is built. But equal playing ground is very, very important to me, always has been, always will be. And I just, you know, I just happen to be, in my opinion, a voice actor who just happened to be Black. I’m not necessarily a Black voice actor, which seems to be somewhat of a, you know, a limited sort of kind of thing. And so just like Jean-François was saying, it’s just, I think, limited playing ground has always been a problem to me. I’ve been pigeon-holed a lot. You know, I’ve been typecast a lot. And there’s just so much more, not only to necessarily me, but just as, you know, Black voice actors as a whole, you know? Tre, help me. Come on, come on in there.

Tre: I feel that we oftentimes, because we are a certain ethnicity or a certain nationality, that they feel we are limited to certain types of roles. Or just the opposite, that we probably can’t handle other types of roles, so we will get overlooked and passed by, and sometimes even considered less than another talent. And I don’t think that is, it’s, it’s right. I think it’s, you know, for lack of a better term, it’s like that. And I say that because you — I [laughs] I’m gonna be diplomatic as I can.

Kesha: I was hoping you wouldn’t be, but. Ok.

Jean-François: Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare.

Kesha: There’s no room for diplomacy here. Come on, man.

Anne: That’s what we’re here for. That’s what we’re here for.

Tre: Let me put it like this. Everyone is on a different level when it comes to voiceover. I have heard on commercials and video games, and practically every genre, talent that really is not all that good. And in my head, I’m thinking of at least 10 voice actors of color that would have done an impeccable job, and I’m saying to myself, why didn’t that person or myself get that opportunity? There has to be someone on the inside that is educating these folks. That’s, that’s if they want to be educated. Just because we’re saying “hey, that’s not right, and you should, you know,  open it to diversity so and so and so,” that’s cool to say. But are there people that actually are cool with that?

You know, you could — it’s just like, they had a casting, and there’re four Black women in there and there are three white women. They call up Katie May Pherson. Katie does her read. It’s pretty good. It’s great. You know, it’s alright, it’s passable. And then they call, you know, Amber. Amber does her read, and it’s not really that great, but they love her energy. She’s just gung-ho about it. You can see the people writing down notes and doing the proverbial “mm-hmm, mm-hmm,” that kind of thing. And then you know, the sisters come in back to back to back and kill it.