The 90th Academy Awards was full of statements about racial equity, from the presenters’ remarks to the winners’ speeches. But the April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign says the Academy still has a very long way to go, as “the Oscars are still so White."
Reign joined the Women’s Media Center Speech Project’s Soraya Chemaly for a conversation with Democracy Now! today (March 5) on what the industry needs to do to actually move the ball forward on equity.
“Jordan Peele was the first Black person and just the second person of color to win best original screenplay in 90 years. And so, the fact that we are still talking about firsts is a problem, because what we know is that representation matters and diversity sells,” Reign, who just launched a new diversity initiative called Akuarel, says in the above video. “So, if Hollywood still chooses not to be more inclusive, more diverse, both in front of and behind the camera, they are literally leaving money on the table.”
Chemaly goes on to say that the show looked nice, but it was masking a greater truth. “I think that what we saw was a little bit of window dressing. The Oscar voters remain remarkably homogenous. So, we’re talking over 90 percent male, still more than three-quarters white. And I think we see that reflected in the voting,” she says. “I mean, I do think it’s notable, for example, there was the first—the best film, the winner, had a female protagonist. That’s the first time in 13 years. And it’s not lost on many of us that she actually was a character that didn’t speak, which is somewhat ironic in the time of #MeToo.”
Watch the full interview above.
*Post has been updated to correct the spelling of Akuarel.