Award shows continue to lack diversity


Kat Sarafianos

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the Golden Globes (GG) pass and award season comes to a start, it can be easy to forget the turmoil many critics pointed out last year at the Academy Awards, the GG and many other film related accolades: the lack of minority nominees. When Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the Academy Awards last year in protest of the mostly white nominees and the absence of Smith’s film, Concussion, many fellow entertainers criticized the move as petty — and they were correct in their critique.
Boycotting award shows and hating on distant and vaguely defined entities like the Academy or Hollywood or even “the industry” fails to focus on the root of the problem.
The lack of diversity in annual award ceremonies like the Golden Globes is a symptom of larger issues of exclusion in the film and television industry. The best way to see more people of color represented at future awards ceremonies is to start with the studio executives who approve the movies that end up in theaters in the first place.
[quote]The best way to write a movie is not to sit down and think, “let me write a script with two black guys, a Korean woman and a Jewish family with a dog.”[/quote] Movies are meant to be a way for creative individuals to tell a story, usually their story. Increasing diversity is not a conscious effort for inclusion in the creation of movies, but rather widening the access for people of color and minorities to make films in the first place and to be apart of their creation.
In order for that to happen, Hollywood needs more diverse people in executive positions to green light those stories. Viola Davis said it best in an interview at Elle’s 6th annual Women in Television Dinner.
“The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system … How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed?” Davis said.  “The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role? Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role? … You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?”
The GG and other award shows are reflections of movies, which reflect Hollywood, which should reflect our society. If the movies being created don’t reflect the demographics of modern America, then there’s something wrong.
Accurate and ample media representation for minorities is necessary for inclusion and to continue to generate and encourage creative individuals from diverse backgrounds to come to Hollywood to create quality content. If people can’t see it, they can’t be it.