San Francisco’s Villy Wang Fights for Young Women and People of Color in the Media
Backing a new generation of storytellers.
- CategoryMakers + Entrepreneurs
The glitz and glamour of another exciting awards season may have settled, but the challenges of diversity and inclusion across the creative industries continue. Forty percent of the U.S. population are people of color, yet that figure falls to 12.6% among film directors. And a mere five women have been nominated in the Academy of Motion Pictures’ prestigious Best Director category. Kathryn Bigelow remains the sole female to win the coveted statuette for Best Director in the organization’s 92-year history, taking home the historic statuesque for her film The Hurt Locker a decade ago.
In the early 2000s, Villy Wang had an audacious idea: to create a business to combat racism while helping kids who, like her, grew up in the projects. Raised by an immigrant single mother in NYC, Wang’s desire to tell her mom’s story forged a passion for using digital media arts to capture stories untold and to create social change.
In 2004, Wang founded BAYCAT (Bayview Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology), an innovative model of nonprofit business tackling the lack of diversity in tech and digital media by providing access, education and employment for Bay Area low-income youth, youth of color and young women. Wang explains, “BAYCAT is all about changing the stories that get told and the storytellers who get to tell them.”
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