#OscarsSoWhite that the statue counts as a Person Of Color.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) January 15, 2015
Because we live in the Internet age, by today, the Oscar nominations are almost old news. But since the Oscars themselves are still weeks away, I want to shout out this poignant and hilarious Twitter hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, which calls out the fact that these are the whitest Oscars in SEVENTEEN YEARS in terms of the major cateogries. Most notably Selma‘s Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo were snubbed for best director and best actor, respectively.
Comedian Hari Kondabolu jumped in on the conversation early on with his ever-biting wit. And people continue to add their own 140 characters to the conversation. Recently, the Academy’s (first black) president Cheryl Boone Isaacs responded to the criticism by saying it only inspired her to push harder for the academy to be inclusive. But there’s a long way to go in the entertainment industry in both movies and television.
Reading through some of the critiques of the hashtag (as frivolous, stupid, un-meritocratic etc.) the one that caught my eye most was that in all the issues facing people of color today, this is perhaps not the “worst” or “most concerning.” And yes, that is true. But when I think about some of the comments coming out of Fresh Off the Boat‘s press panel and Eddie Huang’s comments on Hollywood’s take on his family story, the issues in the entertainment industry reverberate back and reflect bigger concerns in real ways. That’s why we keep harping on this point. Maybe we need new questions or new approaches, but for now, we’ve got hashtags and snark.