by dominique DiPrima
It’s awards season once again and for the second year in a row #OscarsSoWhite is burning up twitter. African Americans have been shut out of the most watched entertainment showcase on TV – Academy Awards back to back…And it’s not just a Black thing – this years awards saw zero Latino, Arab American, Asian or Native American nominees in the important acting categories. After celebrities and activists led by the likes of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith threatened a boycott The Academy announced they are changing the rules to double the number of women and people of color in their voting body by 2020…And limiting lifetime membership.
Is this just window-dressing when the real problem is what films are getting made and who is being hired both in front of & behind the cameras? Or is it a real step forward towards a truly inclusive Hollywood landscape? Is it irrelevant whether or not African-Americans are recognized by White institutions? Or is this change opening an important gateway to quality industry jobs in a company town? Does adding more actors of color turn the tide on racism in the entertainment business? Or is the issue truly the fact that 100% of studio chiefs are still white men?
Clearly this is an issue that goes far beyond the Black and White of the old movies. It is time for the rainbow tribe to step up and make changes industry wide. What would Hollywood look like if Asian Americans and Latinos, Arab Americans and Indigeneous Americans…If women of every community withdrew our financial support of films that demean us…And went out in droves to the work that represents us well both in front of and behind the cameras? It would look like my America, beautiful, multi ethnic and in living color!