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Here's the deal with #OscarsSoWhite and last night's awards

 

Last night's 88th Annual Academy Awards were filled with great moments from amazing dresses to Chris Rock’s opening monologue to (spoiler!) Leonardo DiCaprio finally receiving his long-deserved Oscar. However, this year’s Oscars also inspired a discussion about something especially important: the lack of diversity in media.

The 2016 nominations make it the second year in a row that no people of color were nominated for any of the four acting awards, which came as a surprise to many considering this past featured incredible performances from films like Straight Outta Compton and Creed. The controversy sparked its own hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, where critics and movie-goers alike took note of the lack of racial representation. Celebs like Zendaya spoke out on the issue while others like Will and Jada Smith went as far as boycotting the show.

While the whole conversation on the lack of diversity is a relatively new one, the problem itself isn’t. The Oscars have honored primarily white filmmakers and actors since the awards show began in 1929. In the Oscars' history, only 15 African-American actors, four Hispanic actors and two Asian actors have won Oscars—and those numbers aren't anywhere near representative of America's actual cultural makeup. On top of that, female directors also have a hard time receiving the recognition they deserve from the Academy. Only four women have ever been nominated—and none have won—Best Director.

Luckily, the Academy is taking note. "The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership," wrote Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs in a statement released in a statement last month. With more diverse voting population, the highlighted films and performances will also hopefully find the recognition that they deserve. And as more racially diverse actors, filmmakers and movies are recognized, Hollywood will offer more opportunities to people of color, women and their stories.

Though this may seem discouraging if you want to be an actress or director, we're choosing to take it as the opposite. Not only should you follow your dreams, whatever they are, you can also take the opportunity to make a difference. You can and should be the one to break the mold. The more you try, and the more of us who speak up, the bigger change we can make.

What did you think of this year's Oscars and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy?

Photo credit: ABC

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by Taylor Gardner | 2/29/2016
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