NOC Interview: Culture House’s Raeshem Nijhon Talks About the Importance of Representation

The last several years have seen numerous fallouts from Hollywood industry titans with regard to representation and the arts. NBC cancelling the 2022 Golden Globes amid the problems the HFPA essentially created for itself is a reminder of the strides still to be had for the industry. Enter Raeshem Nijhon, executive producer and founder at Culture House, a black, brown, and women-owned premium film and TV production company.

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‘Aladdin’ Cast and Creatives on Adding Inclusive Stories for Women and People of Color

Disney’s Aladdin will be the first live-action Disney film that showcases people of color in starring roles. The cast and creatives of the film know this and appreciate the effort. Starring Egyptian-Canadian actor Mena Massoud as the title character, British Indian Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, and Will Smith as the Genie, Disney wanted to be sure the characters in the beloved story represented the Aladdin origin story (which also included East and South Asian origins) as well as the animated film.

“I think it is critically important to be able to pull stories and colors and textures and tastes from around the world,” said Smith during the Aladdin press conference. “I think that in this particular time in the world, that kind of inclusion and diversity will be a critical part of turning our connectivity, because we have more connectivity than ever, but transitioning that connectivity into harmony is going to be really critical. And, I think these kinds of interactions in these types of movies are a powerful global service. It was critical and important to me. I spent a lot of time in the Middle East also. So this one particularly was critically important in that way.”

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The Creation of Kaya, Magic: The Gathering’s First Black Woman Planeswalker

On August 3, I was excited to unveil a project I’d been working on for nearly a year. I had been working with Magic: The Gathering to produce a brand new character; a character who is a biggie for their Planeswalkers cast of characters. Kaya, Ghost Assassin has made history as the first black woman Planeswalker, and I’m honored to have been a part of her creation.

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