Behind the scenes with our Best Inclusivity jury

Several judges for the new Kidscreen Awards categories weigh in on what truly makes a show inclusive, and why some are more deserving than others.
February 10, 2021

Molly of Denali, Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices and The Unlisted (pictured) were celebrated as the inaugural winners of our brand-new Best Inclusivity programming categories at the 2021 Kidscreen Awards ceremony yesterday. But what set these three series apart from the competition in this field? Watch our special roundtable presentation (video below) to find out!

Kidscreen features editor Jeremy Dickson sat down with Best Inclusivity judges Theresa Helmer (Disney Channels), Shabnam Rezaei (Big Bad Boo Studios), Matt Kaplowitz (Bride Multimedia) and Kay Benbow (children’s media consultant) to discuss how they determined the category’s nominees and winners, and why some other entries were also notable.

Although certain types of inclusivity have been improving in kids TV content, there is still an overall lack of diversity and representation, according to new Ryerson University data.

Adding Best Inclusivity categories to this year’s Kidscreen Awards program is part of Kidscreen’s diversity and inclusion mission to better represent BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities.

Allyship—actively and intentionally promoting a culture of inclusion—was our Best Inclusivity jury’s guiding assessment principle, and they kept these key questions top of mind while they judged the entries:

1. Does the piece push the culture forward? What is the cultural impact?
2. Is it innovative? Have we seen this before?
3. Can every child see themselves reflected on screen?
4. Is there equal representation both off and on screen?
5. Is there authenticity in the content? Does it reflect the perspective and not the stereotype? Are characters multi-dimensional or tokenistic?
6. Who does the program honor and acknowledge?
7. Is there an expansion of diversity? Are the identities of the characters intersectional?
8. Does it foster empathy and forge a better understanding of the motivations of the characters?
9. Does the program make everyone feel welcome?

The jury also looked for all types of inclusivity: body size, cultural diversity, gender and gender identity, LGBTQ+ representation, neuro-diversity, ableness, race and age.

Additional judges that were part of the Best Inclusivity jury include David Levine (Moonbug), Taylor K. Shaw (Black Women Animate), Shadi Petosky (creator, Danger & Eggs), Kevin Clark (Netflix) and Carl Reed (Lion Forge Animation).

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at



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