MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition (MAAC) achieved landmark success by achieving status for Middle Eastern, North African performers in Hollywood in 2017. The 1st time the MENA community has had hiring status, previously they were counted as white. A loophole that leads to the erasure of positive portrayals in the media and feeds into dangerous stereotypes and leads to serious harm for the entire MENA and South Asian region. Founded by Azita Ghanizada, an Afghan-American actress in the United States. MAAC began when she was informed she was considered caucasian by a major Television network after a network pilot table read. She realized that in the new world of diversity and inclusion, an entire region of the world was being erased. After her successful lobby for the inclusion of MENA in the casting world. MAAC has gone on to; write the Casting Society of America’s guidebook on hiring and auditioning MENA & MENASA performers, rebuild and rename all casting breakdowns globally, educate C-level suite executives on the blatant erasure of MENA performers on screen, present “Terrorists & Tyrants.” a first of its kind study on MENA on TV, and lobbied to have MENA included in USC Annenberg’s and UCLA’s very important yearly diversity reports and infographics. The MAAC database has been a goal for the organization since Summer 2019, to assist in providing Studios, Networks, Producers, and filmmakers access to our pool of diverse artists and creatives.
At MAAC we know that inclusion leads to innovation, and the MAAC database is a small step in more inclusion for MENA, MENASA, SWANA talent above and below the line.
While we continue to actively educate the Hollywood community on the failure of fair and balanced MENA performers across all TV and Film platforms and provide resources, tools, and recommendations on how to advance our visibility in the industry. We believe the database will be an incredible directory and guide to authentic voices from our cultures in Hollywood.
No More Stories About Us Without Us.