“People of color have a constant frustration of not being represented, or being misrepresented, and these images go around the world … I do not think there is going to be any substantial movement until people of color get into those gatekeeper positions of people who have a green-light vote. That is what it comes down to. We do not have a vote, and we are not at that table when it is decided what gets made and what does not get made.”
– Spike Lee
In 2015 and 2016, we in the Urban League Movement joined a movement against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences embodied in the hashtag, “#OscarsSoWhite. At the time, the voting membership of the Academy was reported to be 94% white and 77% male.
As a result of the movement, the Academy pledged to double minority and women membership by 2020 and limited terms to 10 years for members who have not been active in the film industry.
Whether a direct result of these changes or not, Spike Lee’s long-awaited first-time nomination for Best Director is a welcome development, as is the nomination of his film, “BlacKkKlansman,” for Best Picture.
For his part, Lee believes his nomination would not have come about without #OscarsSoWhite. “What that campaign did, it made the Academy understand that they had to diversify their membership,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “The diversity of the voting members makes a difference.”