#OscarsSoWhite on Hollywood representation

What's the difference between meaningful and diverse representation and tokenizing? We spoke with April Reign on the issue.

Inclusion and Representation

April Reign created the viral #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in 2015 to call out the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood. But what is the difference between meaningful, diverse representation and tokenizing? While the recent Star Wars film featured a blink-and-you-miss-it same sex kiss, for Reign, films like Black Panther and the HBO Series Watchmen have provided a reason to be optimistic.

A former lawyer and diversity advocate

“So "Black Panther" helmed by Ryan Coogler was incredibly intentional both in front of and behind the camera and it's a great example of what can happen when somebody is thoughtful. You know, so black production designer, black costume designer, you know, black stunt doubles which is incredibly important. One of my top favorite TV shows of all time now is "Watchmen," right. One series. It just ended on HBO. Damon Lindelof is the creator and showrunner, a white guy, right. But he was very forthright in saying, "I know what I don't know and I… but I want this to be the best possible work possible." And so, his writers' room was incredibly diverse, you know. And as a black woman watching the Tulsa massacre of 1921 — like he didn't even have to touch that issue, right. It wasn't in the film, it wasn't in the original comic book series, but he said, "No. let's tackle it. Show me how to do it," right. And that was brilliant”, April Reign tells Brut.

The lack of diverse Oscar nominations shows that the people who make up the Academy are still "overwhelmingly white and male

Four years since the hashtag started a huge cultural conversation about the lack of diversity in the movies and performers nominated for Academy Awards. Film fans were dismayed to see that many acclaimed movies featuring actors of color, or directed by women) and people of color, were again snubbed by the Academy in its Monday announcement. All the best director nominees are men, and out of 20 lead and supporting actor nominees, only one is a person of color Cynthia Ervio for Harriet.