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Tessa Thompson blazes the trail for TIMES UP #4PercentChallenge

With this year’s Oscar’s nominations further proving how women directors continue to be overlooked for their crowning achievements, this year’s Sundance Film Festival has brought the issue of Hollywood’s gender gap to the fore.

Executive producer, Nina Jacobson, Paul Feig, Amy Schumer, Angela Robinson, and Franklin Leonard, kicked off the challenge at the film festival, during a panel titled, “Making the (In)visible: Radical Transparency in the Data-Driven Age.”

But it was actress Tessa Thompson’s stirring keynote speech later that night that set Hollywood alight on Twitter. Thompson formally launched the TIME’S UP and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative #4PercentChallenge, committing to announce a project with one female director in the next 18 months.

The challenge’s name comes from a statistic released in a study from USC’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism. The think tank focuses on diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry.

The study reveals that only 4 percent of the 1,200 top-earning films released between 2007 and 2018 were directed by women.

Thompson’s speech follows  Regina King pledged in her Golden Globe-winning acceptance speech that all of the projects she produces will be staffed by 50% women in the next two years.

Speaking to Democracy Now, Thompson discussed TIMES UP involvement in the #4PercentChallenge.

You can peep the list of actors, writers, producers, directors and studio heads who have accepted the #4PercentChallenge on the Time’s Up website.

In the wake of Thompson’s speech, major stars such as Jordan Peele, Reese Witherspoon, Olivia Wilde, Kerry Washington, and Jennifer Lopez took Twitter to join the pledge. Even Universal Studios announced on Twitter their participation in the 4 percent challenge.

Thompson also tweeted her commitment to doubling the number of women and POC  journalists who cover and produce content over the films Thompson is starring in this year.

Let’s get it! 2019 is feeling to be one hell of a year for women creatives.