“At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” – Jada Pinkett Smith
“I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them.” – Lupita Nyong’o
“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African-Americans were nominated.” – George Clooney
Let me start off by stating there’s not only a lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations, but a lack of diversity in the media everywhere. To go along with that, yes, racism, white privilege, sexism, etc. are still very prominent in our society.
And it sucks we’re still having this conversation, but honestly we’ll be having this convo for the next 100 years, unless we change it.
I’m ashamed to admit I’m guilty of not including more diversity into my scripts. I’ve written about 6 or 7 full length features and of those, only 2 (scripts) include diverse characters (from African-Americans to Hispanics). It’s an unconscious thing, but nevertheless it’s there. Of course, casting directors (and directors) are the ones who cast the actors, and they may choose whatever actor they see fit, but it’s my responsibility as a writer, to consciously describe a character as having more diverse features. And we should be creating scripts and roles that cater to these actors and audiences. We also shouldn’t be writing movies that solely portray races in a stereotypical manner. For example: black people being cast as gangsters, or “from the Hood,” Mexicans as cholo’s, etc.
So allow us to take one step forward and diligently create that sine qua non the entertainment industry needs.
From now on, I vow, as a Mexican, Woman, and a Lesbian, I will conscientiously create screenplays that are more diverse. They will be filled with more openly diverse characters and content. This is where my contribution starts.
Let’s all take this vow.
And if you’re in the industry, vote on the actual best, regardless of race/age/gender. Amen.