The lack of diversity in Hollywood became front page news last month as the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag became a running theme on social media. The N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, directed by F. Gary Gray not only topped the box office but was also critically acclaimed, yet still only snagged two nominations and won none. Recently, it has been revealed that the studio behind the making of the film, Universal, whitewashed the trailers during the movie’s promotion on Facebook.
While speaking at a SXSW panel, Universal Executive VP of digital marketing Doug Neil revealed that there were different trailers for Straight Outta Compton, which were geared toward Facebook users of different races. Apparently, users who are white did not see the trailers that mentioned N.W.A., the group at the center of the film, instead only mentioning Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Neil stated that the studio assumed that the “general population” did not know Dre and Cube as rappers but instead for their recent successes. “They connected to Ice Cube as an actor and Dr. Dre as the face of Beats,” shared Neil.
At the opposite end, Black and Hispanic Facebook users saw the real movie trailer as it was meant to be seen.