What better way to end Pride month celebrations than by enjoying a thought-provoking conversation with a screenwriter whose work is elevating and rewriting the LGBTQ experience in media?
Salesforce and the Commonwealth Club of California kicked off the inaugural Equality Series on Friday, June 28. TV host Michelle Meow sat down with Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” co-producer and screenwriter and “Tales of the City” producer Lauren Morelli. Watch the full interview below.
“Anything you can do to humanize these headlines, so they get rooted in people and empathy, I think that's how we make a difference and I think those are the allies we really need right now.”
In the new “Tales of the City”, adapted from Armistead Maupin’s books about a diverse community of people — who happen to be gay, bisexual, trans, and hetero-normative — living in San Francisco. Morelli worked hard to ensure authentic representation. From an all-queer writers' room to actors from a myriad of backgrounds — Morelli gives voice to narratives often ignored in Hollywood.
A lot has changed in the 18 years since the last miniseries, “Further Tales of the City,” aired in 2001. To bring the story to life, Morelli collaborated with Maupin to elevate and address current plotlines. The show pulls off generational appeal by representing a breadth of LGBTQ identities.
"When you have authentic casting, the conversation doesn't stop at the script. You can say, ‘how does this feel to you? Does it sit right with your lived experience?’ A lot more people can contribute instead of just saying words," Morelli said.
When asked about how we can change the narrative in Hollywood and representation in media-at-large, Morelli believes “... it's important to ask questions and facilitate dialogue. We need to see more listening. It requires checking your ego out the door and being honest."
Morelli — who identifies as a lesbian and is married to Emmy-Award winning “Handmaids Tale” actor Samira Wiley — also shared her thoughts on discriminatory LGBTQ rhetoric in media.
"Anything you can do to humanize these headlines, so they get rooted in people and empathy, I think that's how we make a difference and I think those are the allies we really need right now."
At Salesforce, we recognize the importance of elevating authentic voices and representation in storytelling. It is in that spirit that we partner with The Commonwealth Club to bring trailblazing speakers who re-imagine their industries and have a positive impact on the society around us.
As Bret Taylor, Chief Product Officer at Salesforce said at the event, “We believe that every business can be a powerful platform for change and we are committed to using our business to help make the world a better place.”
Here are some more photos of this powerful evening:
At Salesforce, Equality is a core value and we believe in equal rights for all. Learn more about our journey and how to champion Equality in business: Salesforce.com/Equality.