I’m going to be honest. I really don’t care that the ‘Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ decided to, once again, white out the Oscars. Truly, I don’t care.
The Oscars have never meant anything to me. Even when they gave black folks a bone with Denzel and Halle, it irked me because the roles both played in Training Day and Monsters Ball, were not positive.
What does interest me is the debate this has inspired – a debate that is worth having, not only in America but across the western world. I think there is one key point that has come from this debate so far: Oscars, and therefore the industry at large, lacks diversity.
That may have been true a little as 5 years ago, but I just don’t believe that to be the case at the moment. For the first time in my life I can name you more than 10 black actors whose names are not Denzel or Will. Probably more importantly, I can name you so many black actresses that I believe are the best in the business, no matter the colour. Viola Davis being chief of them.
Even more heartening, I think there have been extraordinary black films. What do I mean by ‘black’ films? Well, movies with a black lead, a black director or a majority black cast. In the past 12 months alone I have seen Straight Outta Compton, Dear White People, Dope, Creed, Beast of No Nation and Selma. What I’m trying to say is that we have come a long way.
Frankly, as a British lad, I am proud as hell that we are providing so many incredible black talent.
What the industry needs to do is to ensure that it keeps making strides in the right direction, and importantly, keep giving talents such as Denzel…erm… I mean Idris Elba, Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan, Steve McQueen, Tessa Thompson, Ava DuVernay, Queen Taraji and Lupita a chance.
If it does that, the Academy will follow – they will have no choice.