Latasha Gillespie is the executive head of global diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for Amazon Studios, Prime Video, and IMDb. In her role, Gillespie is responsible for the development and management of all content-related and customer-facing DEIA work for the organization. Prior to joining Amazon, Gillespie spent 20 years with Caterpillar Inc. and is credited for launching the first diversity recruiting team and the company’s Employee Resource Groups.
In 2021, the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce named Gillespie Executive of the Year and she ended the year on the cover of Inclusion Magazine for her leadership in implementing inclusive and equitable practices. She was featured in Variety’s 2022 Inclusion Impact Report, Black Enterprise magazine named her one of the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity, and she is a 2018 Ebony Magazine Power 100 honoree.
How did you end up at Amazon Studios?
I grew up outside of Chicago and went to school at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and then went to work in the manufacturing industry. I moved from Central Illinois to Peoria, Illinois, to work for Caterpillar, where I spent 20 [years] and started off in finance, then worked in HR. I became a Six Sigma Black Belt, and eventually became the chief diversity officer, and my last assignment in those 20 years was actually living and working in Singapore where I was the head of HR for Africa, the Middle East, Russia, and all of Asia Pacific. It was an amazing, interesting journey over those 20 years in a bunch of different roles and places. Then I got recruited by Amazon. So my family and I packed up, left Singapore after two-plus years, and moved to Seattle to be the head of global diversity, equity and inclusion for Amazon corporate. In that role, I worked closely with Jeff Bezos and his directs on a corporate and global DEI strategy, did that for two years, and then moved to Los Angeles to work for Amazon Studios to do the work that my team currently does today.
How can Black-owned entertainment companies partner with Amazon Studios?
We actively work with Black-owned production companies to produce content for our customers. That work you may see actually on Prime Video, but also you may see it on our other service, which is called Freevee, and is an ad-based service, which is free to anybody, so you don’t have to have an Amazon Prime membership to watch. Because of our ability to have channels and different things, it’s nice that other networks like BET or TNT, or other Black-owned networks can actually show their content through Prime. If you have a Prime membership, you can actually also subscribe to other channels, and watch content from some of those Black-owned networks as well, which is great.