Leadership in the Entertainment Industry "Unfortunately, (the entertainment industry) is so dispersed over such a wide field that it is difficult to pinpoint any particular person or group (responsible for influencing public opinion). . . . All of these various aspects of our popular culture have some influence. You turn on the radio and you hear . . . a rap song about . . . killing cops. You turn on the television and there is a television show with an unwed mother.
"It is really going to take some vigilance on the part of the American public to say what they want (from the entertainment industry) and to vote with their dollars (concerning) what kinds of movies they watch and what kinds of music they listen to. (The public) cannot continue to shift the responsibility to others; they have to take a certain measure of responsibility.
"Responsible people in the entertainment business are also starting that process. Groups like the Environmental Media Assn., which has its awards next week, has really made an effort and . . . some progress in putting environmental messages on television. I think that you will see more voluntary efforts to make the medium responsible."
Women and Minorities in Hollywood "Like other businesses, Hollywood is an old boys' network. There are some women who have been able to break through, and I think that talent can win out. But there is still a big discrepancy, particularly in dollars, in terms of the compensation (that) women stars and executives (receive compared to) what men get.
"Many film companies do not have minority hiring programs (and) do not have minority intern programs. Because of the events of this last spring, several are instituting them. Fortunately, again, your dollar at the box office does more than anything to help. . . . If we go to see pictures like 'Boyz N the Hood' then we will find, as we are now, a whole new crop of black directors and black film makers and more projects that cast minorities in a positive light. "
Looking Ahead * Monday: Mark Lennox-Boyd, Parliamentary undersecretary of state for the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, will speak on "Britain and the New Europe" at noon at the Biltmore Hotel. Sponsored by the L.A. World Affairs Council. Call (213) 628-2333.
* Wednesday: Willie L. Williams, Los Angeles police chief, will speak to Town Hall at noon at the Biltmore Hotel. Call (213) 628-8141.
* Thursday: Sucheng Chan, professor of History at UC Santa Barbara, will talk about "Learning from Asian-American History" at 6:45 p.m., at Claremont-McKenna College. Call (714) 621-8244.
Announcements concerning prominent speakers in Los Angeles should be sent to Speaking Up, c/o Times researcher Tracy Thomas, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053