C.L.I.C.K. for Justice and Equality is an agent of communication alerting our social community of injustices and inequalities among the socially disadvantaged and disenfranchised individual. C.L.I.C.K. developed and created this website to assist the socially disenfranchised or disadvantaged individual in litigating their issues in Federal and State courts.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fw: The Whitest Oscars since 1998

What do you think about the Oscars this year?
Fred Nance Jr., PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Human Services/Social Policy Analysis and Planning

C.L.I.C.K. Services, NFP, President & CEO
Program & Policy Development
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----- Forwarded Message -----
From: "Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange.org" <info@colorofchange.org>
To: Fred Nance Jr. <frednance@clickservices.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2015 11:58 AM
Subject: The Whitest Oscars since 1998

The 2015 Academy Awards will be "the whitest Oscars since 1998."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a message for you: artists of color are not welcome on the voter ballot or as an Oscar voter. Don't you think it's time to change that?
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler
Demand the Academy announce and actively take steps toward diversifying their membership.
Take Action
Dear Fred, 
In particular, the Ava DuVernay-directed "Selma" was robbed, receiving a nod for Best Picture, but nothing for its incredible director or leading man, David Oyelowo. No people of color received nominations in any of the acting categories, and not a single woman was nominated for Best Director.
At a time when our news media and justice system continue to make clear how little the lives of black Americans matter, and our rights continue to be rolled back on a number of fronts -- from voting rights to our right to organize -- it matters that Hollywood continues to invalidate our images and stories.2 Unfortunately, this isn't a new issue. Since the inception of Hollywood we've had to combat harmful images and stereotypes, and fight for our own space to create and produce art that centers on the stories of people of color.
The Academy Awards have had eighty-seven years to figure it out -- to nominate, award, and affirm the value of artists of color -- and still they can't seem to get it right. This harmful, persistent Hollywood narrative of exclusion and discrimination will be affirmed once again by this year's ceremony. Of course, that is hardly surprising when we take into account the fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the organization that determines Oscar nominees and winners, is 94% white and 76% male.3 Among them are individuals like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch; in other words, people who do not have a vested interest in seeing anything change.
Clearly, the Oscars has a problem, both on screen and behind the scenes. It is time for the AMPAS -- and all other entities that fund a culture that devalues Black art -- to be intentional about diversifying their ranks and ensuring Black artists and entertainers are given the support, respect, and recognition they deserve.
Academy members are already making excuses for the Oscars' eighty-seven-year track record of exclusion. In an op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, conservative member Lionel Chetwynd dismissed calls for the Academy to diversify as "tokenism," claimed it would lead to "mediocrity" at the Oscars, and essentially demanded we all just shut up and be patient: "Change will come slowly in such a system, but it will come."4 No thanks, Mr. Chetwynd. Throughout our history, racial justice movements have heard similar refrains from those who claim to be our allies; "Be patient," "go slow." But as Dr. King himself explained in his landmark Letter from a Birmingham Jail, there comes a time when "the cup of endurance runs over," when the seemingly endless wait for justice is no longer tolerable. Eighty-seven years is a very long time, Mr. Chetwynd; we are no longer willing to wait.
These awards matter; the Oscars telecast lifts up those considered to be among today's most important artists and entertainers, resulting in increased financial backing for future projects and the opening of doors and opportunities for those featured. Black artists being denied their rightful place in these shows only helps to solidify the fallacy that Hollywood is the playground of white people, and that the cultural products of Black people don't matter and are undeserving of praise, funding, or the attention of the public.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has stated her desire to see a more diverse AMPAS, saying recently that "it's very important for us to continue to make strides to increase our membership and the recognition of talent."5 However, clearly more needs to be done. There are many common sense measures the AMPAS could take right now, including the disclosure of the AMPAS' diversity numbers and the diversity of films considered by the Academy, a survey of current members to see if they're actually watching Black films prior to voting, and a long-term commitment to diversifying the organization's Board of Governors, on which Isaacs is currently the only Black person.
The AMPAS is sending a dangeorus message to young people about the worthiness of their stories and images. We must hold the AMPAS accountable here, and demand Black stories, Black art, and Black people be valued and affirmed by the entertainment industry.
Thanks and Peace,
--Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Brandi, Dallas and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
   January 22, 2015
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1. "This Will Be the Whitest Oscars Since 1998," Huffington Post, 1-15-15
2. "Why the Oscars' Omission of 'Selma' Matters," New York Times, 2015
3. "Oscar Voters: 94% White, 76% Male, with an Average of 63 Years Old," The Atlantic, 3-2-14
4. "Oscar Voter on Diversity Gripes: Lay Off Us, Al Sharpton! (Guest Column)," The Hollywood Reporter, 1-21-15
5. "Academy President Responds to Oscar Firestorm," Huffington Post, 1-16-15

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