Lisa Joseph Metelus, Richard Lovett Speak Out at CAA Virtual Town Hall On Racial Justice

CAA's Lisa Joseph Metelus and Richard Lovett - Getty - Split - H 2020
Bobby Metelus/Getty Images; Araya Diaz/Getty Images

"We commit that a year from now, we will have fewer leaders that look like me and more men and women of color leading teams," said CAA co-chairman Lovett.

On June 17, CAA held a Town Hall event under its Amplify banner that saw agency brass, talent, activists and organizers discussing actionable steps that can be taken to create more equitable industries. 

Started in 2017, the Amplify Conferences are meant to bring together leaders from across entertainment, media, sports and tech for a series of panels and conversations to discuss the equity in Hollywood and beyond, with the overwhelming majority of attendees being people of color.

The Amplify Town Hall came as entertainment companies are being pushed to remedy their continued lack of non-white representation amongst their ranks, especially at the highest of levels.

On June 1, the agency announced that CAA Sports' co-head of basketball marketing and servicing, Lisa Joseph Metelus, was named to the CAA Board, which is responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency and reports to CAA co-chairmen Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane.

"'Why now?' was the first thing I asked, myself. But then I thought, 'If not now, then when?'" said Metelus, the first Black person named to the CAA Board, opening the virtual event. "You can't do great business, you can't drive culture without our reflection at every level of your company."

She continued, "So when CAA asked me to join the Board, I struggled with that decision, but I accepted because although I may be the first, I am going to make sure I am not the last."

Following Metelus was Lovett, who offered his own thoughts on the current political moment. He recounted a conversation he had with Lourd about the nationwide protests against police violence, and offered, "But then I realized that they are protesting against me, too."

"They are protesting the system and I am the system. We white leaders are the system. The system is white supremacy. The system is racism. The system promotes white privilege," he said. "I was born into it and it seemed natural and I enjoy its benefits and that makes me a little evil, too." Lovett added, "We commit that a year from now, we will have fewer leaders that look like me and more men and women of color leading teams."

The town hall also saw Yara Shahidi in conversation with Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, CAA's co-head of international film Maha Dakhil with Black Live Matter co-founded Patrisse Cullors, and Dwyane Wade with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, among others. 

As a part of the town hall the agency announced that they would be giving staff a half-day on Election Day, Nov. 3, while staffers who planned to volunteer on at polling sites. CAA also debuted a filmed PSA, Love The Culture, Love The People, that features Jamie Foxx, Gabrielle Union, Wade and Janet Mock, and will be shared on the CAA social channels.

The day ended with a comments from Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. In his remarks closing the nearly three hour event, he offered: "I think the question today for privileged white people, is no longer 'What are you willing to give back?' Rather, it is, 'What are you willing to give up?'"