Race and ethnicity of narration

I recently stumbled across a POV blog entry by Tom Roston about the race of narrators and whether or not this is a conscious choice. 

Roson mentions March of the Penguins narrated by Morgan Freeman and Disney Nature‘s Earth narrated by James Earl Jones

Roson asks, “Isn’t it interesting that three of the most Hollywood-y nature docs of the past five years are all narrated by African Americans?” Ronson wonders if “there is something else going on.”

I’m still an amateur in the film business, but I think there are many reasons why this trend is seen.

One aspect, I believe, is due to the sound of African American voices. It’s similar to the American shows using hosts or narrators with English accents. 

Consider Nancy Giles, “Sunday Morning” commentator, who does a slew of commercial voice overs.

James Earl Jones, I’d say, has a pretty popular voice because of the way it sounds.

Next, consider “the times.” I think TV and film is becoming more diverse, but there certainly is along way to go.

Yes, part of the reason why media, especially the commercial, has become more diverse is because a wider audience can be attracted and reached. The motive might be to sell more, but the upside is that a diverse audience is included in the production process.

I don’t see a problem with using diverse narrators. It’s a great thing. 

If the voice fits, it fits.


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Filed under Culture, documentary, People, Trend

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