Monday, January 25, 2016

Breaking Down the #OscarsSoWhite Blowback

When the Oscar nominations were announced earlier this month, people were once again stunned. For the second time in as many years, all the nominees for the acting and directing categories (with one exception) were white. Same goes for the Best Picture nods, which all centered on stories revolving around predominately white casts. As you can imagine in the social media age that we live in these days, the blowback was as swift as it was predictable .

Within hours the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag was trending and a number of people in and outside the Hollywood industry were being asked to opine on the topic at hand. I found it interesting the number of 'mainstream' news organizations that were quick to lambaste the Academy Awards for their lack of representation, when in fact many of their own newsrooms aren't exactly beacons of diversity either. Hey Pot, say hello to my main man Kettle.

This issue of a lack of diversity at the Oscars is hardly a new one. The fact that only a handful of black folks (not to mention Latinos and Asians) have won an Oscar since Hattie McDaniel became the first to do so back in 1940, is sadly not surprising. What is surprising is that The Academy (the group of individuals that vote and determine who is nominated and who wins an Oscar) still does not see the error in its ways.