#OscarsSoWhite creator says Oscars still in need of diversity

#OscarsSoWhite creator breaks down viral hashtag
Posted at 6:38 AM, Feb 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 00:53:40-05

April Reign said Twitter has been her social media platform for years. She was frustrated, and from that frustration she gave birth to the hashtag #oscarssowhite.

"Oscars so white represents not just race, not just black people, but all traditionally under represented communities," she said. We're talking about the LGBTQIA community, the differently abled community.  We're also talking about different genders."

Reign who's from Columbia is the managing editor of Broadway Black. Her tweet about the lack of diversity in the Oscars in January 2015 was read and retweeted all over the world.

Now two years later, she's somewhat encouraged by the discussion it started.

"It's fantastic all voices that are speaking on this issue and saying that we need to do more regarding giving opportunities to traditionally under represented communities is a good thing," Reign said."If Oscar so white provided an additional highlight or spotlight on films that perhaps would not have had as much interest otherwise then that's fantastic. That's the way it should be for all films."

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This year, there were African Americans nominated in every acting category as well cinematography, editing and producing, but Reign says there's still work to be done.

"We've actually taken a step back with respect to cultural appropriation of the Asian and Pacific Island communities," she said.

"The President invited 683 new members into the academy, that is its biggest and most diverse class ever.  However with those incredible numbers the academy is still over 89 percent white, 73 percent male and the average age is in the 60's. 

By continuing the discussion Hollywood can only benefit Reign says. She points to the box office success of films like Hidden Figures. The story profiling three little known black female mathematicians and NASA engineers in the 1960's. The budget was only 25 million and the film grossed more than 144 million.

"Everyone wins not just the black actor. Not just the gay actor when we have more opportunities for everyone, because it's really about the theatre goers. They should be able to see themselves on the screen when they pay their hard earned dollars and sit in that movie theatre," Reign said.

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