When I started Obscure Studios as a high school student interested in making short films, I’m not sure the words “diversity” and “inclusion” were in my vocabulary. I was a middle-class, straight, white kid—I had the privilege to ignore injustice and racism. As a rather clueless high schooler and later, as a still mostly clueless college student, many of my early works of creative output were riddled with stereotypes. We were making comedic videos for YouTube and our brand of comedy sometimes relied on hurtful stereotypes for the sake of a joke.
As I got older and my worldview expanded, I realized that even though my words didn’t come from a place of hate, they could still inflict harm. And I slowly began to perceive the injustices around me. Living in a border state, I became aware of immigration issues. I learned about the history of the native peoples whose land (upon which I was living) had been stolen. Many of my friends came out as gay, lesbian, or trans as debates about LGBTQIA+ rights began to dominate American cultural politics.
I knew that I, and by extension, Obscure Studios, couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore. We had to take a stand in support of marriage equality, women’s rights, trans rights, immigrant and refugee rights, anti-racism, and a slew of other issues where we could lend our voice.
We had to be the best allies we could be.
It’s been a long road, but I’m glad to say we’ve taken steps as creators to empower and lift up diverse narratives whenever we can. Diverse voices matter more than ever. Today, I’m proud to announce Obscure Studios’ official diversity and inclusion statement, clearly outlining our commitments and goals to foster a storytelling community where everyone is welcome.
We still have a long way to go, but it’s a start.
Jonny Eberle, President