Why I'm Nearly in Tears Right Now

  1. Background: I have been an entertainment junkie my entire life. In the past few years, diversity in media has become increasingly important to me.
    It was only after I saw The Mindy Project that I realized that South Asian-Americans have important voices, too, and they should be heard just like anybody else's. Crazy that it took me this long, but you get used to the status quo. I researched about Mindy, of course, but also, about South Asians in positions of power in entertainment.
  2. I found out that Bela Bajaria, an Indian-American, was the President of Universal TV.
    I immediately read any interviews I could find of hers, and she quickly became a role model of mine (as someone who can't become a creator, but still wants to help get Asian voices heard).
  3. Today, Bela was fired. The entire industry is shocked.
  4. There are some reasons for this, of course.
    Universal believes they should have had more shows picked up during pilot season; Bela will sell her shows to Netflix, Fox, Hulu, etc. if NBC doesn't pick them up because she prioritizes content, but NBCUniversal doesn't make as much money this way; Current hits on NBC aren't Universal productions, etc.
  5. However, Bela is extremely well-liked and respected in the industry. No one saw this coming.
  6. Under her, we've seen some incredible series come to development.
    Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Path, Bates Motel
  7. For me, most important is her support of Indian-American voices.
    Universal TV produces the TWO series on television that discuss what being an Indian in America is like: The Mindy Project and Master of None. (I love Quantico, but it is about the FBI, not an Indian-American exploring her identity.)
  8. @mindy herself has always admitted that Bela is a huge part of why The Mindy Project came to fruition.
  9. I really looked up to Bela because she exemplifies the idea that we need seats at the power table.
    I am almost in tears because it takes so long for someone to move up to that position, but with such little representation of South Asians and even Asians, in general, at that level, every person counts. And now, we have the only one down.
  10. With two years left on her contract when she was fired, Bela does not have another job lined up. I'm just hoping she finds another place to help further the diversity in media movement.