#OscarsSoWhite for the Second Year in a Row

by julie.brown on January 25, 2016 - 5:59pm

For the second year in a row, not a single non-white person was nominated for the upcoming Oscars ceremony. This not only sparked outrage on Twitter – resurrecting the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag born from the 2015 controversy – but also drove certain celebrities to call for a boycott of the Academy Awards, as related in an article by The Associated Press, published on CBC News on January 18th, 2016.

In an Instagram post published on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, director Spike Lee (Inside Man, Malcolm X) announces that he “will not be attending the Oscar Ceremony this coming February”, though he realizes that the awards ceremony is not solely responsible for the situation. Instead, Lee holds the Hollywood and TV studios accountable for repeatedly greenlighting or declining the same projects.

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham, Madagascar), Will Smith’s wife, also expressed her intentions of boycotting the Oscars, encouraging other people of color to do the same.

The lack of representation in this year’s nominees is not going unchecked. In a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times, it was noted that 94% of Academy members were white; only 2% were black.

Despite acknowledging the changes to Academy membership between now and then, the current situation remains a source of disappointment to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, academy president and the first African-American woman to hold the position. Although there was no lack of stellar and diverse performances in 2015 – notably, Creed, Straight Outta Compton, Beast of No Nation, and Concussion – Boone Isaacs realizes the need to “bring about much needed diversity to our 2016 class and beyond.”

And change is coming, albeit at a crawl. Boone Isaacs emphasizes the importance of having this conversation about diversity, noting that “that is what is needed in order to progress in the area of inclusion.”

 

 

About the author

Julie Brown is a Digital Imaging and Studio Arts student at Champlain College. She is very interested in matters concerning culture and the arts, as well as youth matters, technology and social activism.