#OscarsSoWhite founder on the movement's next frontier

#OscarsSoWhite founder April Reign told CNN's #...

Posted: Mar 4, 2018 6:17 PM

#OscarsSoWhite founder April Reign told CNN's #GetPolitical that although the movement she started in January 2015 has begun to move the needle when it comes to representing and celebrating diversity in Hollywood, its work has only just begun.

This year, although several black actors, directors and writers were nominated for Academy Awards in various categories, the National Hispanic Media Coalition staged a pre-Oscars protest on Saturday to call attention to the dismal representation of Hispanic Americans in film.

In the Oscars' 90-year history, there still has only been one woman of color - Halle Berry in 2002 - to win a best actress award, and only six men of color to ever win best actor. This week, Reign launched "Akuarel," a new website where Hollywood studios can find actors and filmmakers of color.

CNN: Were you encouraged by the fact that black actors, directors and writers received nominations in several categories this year?

REIGN: Although I think we can be happy for the fact that there are a record number of nominations for black filmmakers, especially behind the camera this year, the black community does not stand for all communities.

CNN: There are several records that could be broken this year. Jordan Peele could become the first African-American director to win best director, and Dee Rees could become the first African-American woman to win an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Is that encouraging?

REIGN: Let's be honest. We have some record nominations this year for the black community, but the fact that we are still talking about firsts in 2018 means there's a lot more that needs to be done in our community as well.

CNN: Who needs to be held accountable to ensure that diversity is represented and celebrated in film?

REIGN: We could not have expected to see overnight change because the onus is truly on Hollywood. The Academy can only nominate films that are made, so it really depends on Hollywood filmmakers and those who have the ability to green-light films to step out of their comfort zone and allow more people from marginalized communities to tell their stories.

CNN: Even when they are cast, actors of color are often relegated to playing stereotypical roles.

REIGN: What we see in film all to often is that there are stereotypical tropes that people of color and people of marginalized communities are expected to play. So, for example, how many more slave movies do we need? You know, we've had "12 Years a Slaves," "Django" and "Birth of a Nation," and "Roots" and so many others, but there's so much more to the black experience than what happened in the 1700s and 1800s.

CNN: What does the success of "Black Panther" tell us?

REIGN: I think "Black Panther" is a fantastic example of what can happen when studios give the green light to show richly developed characters in all of their glory, fully formed and realized people on screen, and the box office is indicating that people want to see more of that.

CNN: What glimmers of hope have you seen over the last two years?

REIGN: I think the legacy of #OscarsSoWhite is that we have seen some systemic progress. The Academy for example, has pledged to doubling people of color and the number of women within its ranks by 2020, and I expect that they will continue to move towards that progress. We've also seen with the BAFTAs (The British Academy Film Awards) that there are two new categories that specifically focus on diversity within the filmmaking community.

CNN: When will you feel that #OscarsSoWhite has fulfilled its purpose?

REIGN: Until we have more representation of all marginalized communities, #OscarsSoWhite is not finished. And there should never have been a thought that it would be completed in one year or two because that's truly not the way Hollywood works. ... It takes years to go from a screenplay, to a green light, to production, to having a film on screen, so it is not any surprise to me that we're seeing just incremental progress every year.

For more on culture and politics, check out CNN's #GetPolitical series.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 248189

Reported Deaths: 5411
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto16841171
Hinds15890312
Harrison13037191
Rankin10439205
Jackson10128177
Lee8721135
Madison8071160
Jones6166108
Forrest5870117
Lauderdale5724177
Lowndes5238109
Lafayette486192
Lamar475363
Washington4734122
Bolivar3941106
Oktibbeha388179
Panola360475
Pontotoc358752
Monroe3487103
Warren337895
Union337457
Marshall336065
Neshoba3325150
Pearl River319492
Leflore2980104
Lincoln293385
Sunflower277569
Tate266659
Alcorn260651
Itawamba258858
Pike258176
Hancock253557
Prentiss242450
Scott241043
Yazoo237754
Copiah237449
Tippah236246
Simpson232367
Leake227864
Coahoma223154
Grenada215770
Covington208871
Marion206171
Adams201666
Winston198061
George197438
Wayne196130
Attala191658
Newton186542
Chickasaw181243
Tishomingo179659
Holmes167867
Jasper165134
Clay156732
Stone140218
Tallahatchie138234
Clarke136460
Calhoun133321
Smith118823
Yalobusha113834
Walthall111136
Noxubee109622
Greene108929
Montgomery108134
Carroll103721
Lawrence101217
Perry99131
Amite96425
Webster90624
Claiborne85125
Tunica84521
Jefferson Davis83825
Humphreys81524
Benton80323
Kemper75720
Quitman6758
Franklin65315
Choctaw59613
Wilkinson58125
Jefferson53019
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1586
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 417528

Reported Deaths: 6030
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61313888
Mobile29768542
Madison26637185
Tuscaloosa20580268
Montgomery18696304
Shelby18310113
Baldwin16002179
Lee12261101
Morgan12093112
Etowah11604157
Calhoun10982200
Marshall10108107
Houston8474129
Cullman7960104
Limestone790174
Elmore7723101
DeKalb764697
St. Clair7460120
Lauderdale745183
Talladega6102108
Walker5852174
Jackson574441
Blount526483
Colbert525670
Autauga510355
Coffee434256
Dale391081
Franklin363445
Chilton333565
Covington326167
Russell323810
Escambia312442
Dallas300296
Clarke278233
Chambers277869
Tallapoosa2599107
Pike245829
Marion240549
Lawrence240447
Winston223835
Bibb213047
Geneva197431
Marengo197329
Pickens195231
Hale173742
Barbour171236
Butler167958
Fayette166026
Cherokee159630
Henry151119
Monroe144417
Randolph138535
Washington136526
Clay125246
Crenshaw118044
Lamar116619
Cleburne116023
Macon113335
Lowndes108735
Wilcox101221
Bullock98128
Perry95419
Conecuh92920
Sumter88726
Greene75323
Coosa60414
Choctaw51224
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