Motion Picture Association’s John Gibson, “A Champion of Inclusion, Belonging and Representation in Film and TV”


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As the Vice President of External and Multicultural Affairs at the Motion Picture Association (MPA), John Gibson strives to enhance the association’s diversity and inclusion initiatives as a prominent figure in the entertainment industry. This unique position allows him to help enrich film culture and empower underrepresented artisans in Hollywood by continuing to build relationships with diverse content creators. Gibson cultivates MPA’s partnership with national civil rights and multicultural creative groups as an essential component of the association’s outreach to influential third-party entities. When asked about his motivation, he says “supporting other people’s dreams is what drives me.”

In his role as founder of the MPA’s Inclusion and Multicultural Outreach Program, he is credited for securing impactful partnerships with prestigious organizations such as the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, African American Film Critics Association, Women in Film, Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, and more than thirty other groups. These organizations have impacted the culture and have moved the need for diversity in film.

“I think there should be opportunities for everyone,” said Gibson. “People connect through the shared experiences they see in films.”

Gibson also serves on the advisory boards of some of the leading multicultural film festivals, including the American Black Film Festival, Georgia Latino Film Festival, and New York Latino Film Festival. His goal is to instill awareness of gender equality and cultural diversity in the entertainment industry. Like many others from underrepresented communities, he looks forward to seeing a constant annual rotation of films like Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, Wonder Woman, The Farewell, The Kitchen, Dolemite is My Name, If Beale Street Can Talk, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Terminator Dark Fate, and CoCo to name a few.

Before establishing himself as a forerunner for diversity in film and television at the MPA, John advised the CEO of the international private real estate investment management firm, JER Partners, and worked at the two major corporate law firms, Holland & Knight LLP and Akin Gump LLP. During his time at Holland & Knight, he served as Director of Marketing and Media Relations for the Corporate Diversity Practice Group, and at Akin Gump he was the Special Assistant for Public Policy to the Senior Partner. Gibson also worked in President Bill Clinton’s Administration as an appointee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he worked alongside the Secretary of Agriculture with a focus on executive operations, employee relations, and civil rights. 

Throughout his career, he has been actively involved in the furthering of human rights, whether connected to filmmaking, education or politics. “I’ve been incredibly blessed to have strong influences in helping shape my career. When Ambassador Charles Rivkin came onboard as CEO of the Motion Picture Association in 2017, one of the first things he did was to elevate the visibility of my work. When leaders such as Ambassador Rivkin make inclusion, belonging, and acceptance a core function of the day-to-day operations, the organization, and ultimately, the entire industry will benefit for the better.”

Gibson’s noteworthy work has been lauded by leading organizations like Black Enterprise, National Action Network (NAN), Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC), National Urban League (NUL), Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), Atlanta Business Journal (ABJ) and others.

 Photo Credit: Gary Landsman

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