In an attempt to reach diversity goals, the Academy of Motion Pictures has invited 928 new members including an unprecedented number of women and people of color. The academy which puts on the annual Oscar awards—arguably the most significant film awards in the industry—has received a huge amount of backlash over its lack of diversity in both its membership, as well as among the nominees it chooses each year.
The obvious lack of female and non-White nominees has prompted protests, boycotts and even the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite since 2014 when no people of color were nominated in the major award categories. Now, four years later the academy is making its biggest push to diversify in its entire history.
Most notably 49 percent of the new inductees are female, including Latinx actor and activist Gina Rodriguez, who tweeted about her inclusion when the list was posted Monday morning.
Some of the other new members include Tiffany Hadish, Mindy Kaling and George Lopez, marking another attempt at diversification—the inclusion of comics, and comics of color no less. Brazilian actress Alice Braga, Mexican actress Rosana de Soto and Peruvian actor Benjamin Bratt, as well as rapper Kendrick Lamar and Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, are also among the notable invitees.
I say it’s about time! By now we should all realize how pertinent representation is and it’s absolutely absurd that it’s taken this long for the academy or any other organization to make a conscious effort towards inclusion and diversification. Perhaps it took an old White man nearly destroying Hollywood to insight some changes.
It’s not totally fair to expect White people to see the things that seem so obvious to people of color, but it is fair to expect them do their part by working and living life alongside us, asking us for opinions and including us in decision-making processes. That’s where real change will happen, so hopefully this new batch of academy members will use their experiences and voices to influence meaningful change in one of the world’s biggest industries.