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lord of the rings

Original ‘LOTR’ Cast Stands in Solidarity With ‘Rings of Power’ Cast Amid Racist Backlash

The original cast of “The Lord of the Rings” movies are standing in solidarity with the diverse cast of Amazon’s new series “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The cast of “The Rings of Power” have been on the receiving end of a slurry of hateful messages from racist “fans” of the LOTR franchise. These fans are unhappy with the casting decision and feel that it does not represent what they perceive to be LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien’s vision of its fantasy world, “Middle-earth.”

Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, and Dominic Monaghan publicly supported the new cast members on social media. They posted photos wearing hats and t-shirts featuring a row of human, goblin, and elf ears in various shades of skin tone. The four actors played the four hobbits in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation of the LOTR trilogy.

The actors captioned their posts with “you are all welcome here,” which quickly became a hashtag and reaffirmed their support. The merchandise designed by Don Marshall also features the phrase printed in “elvish.” 50% of the merchandise sales profits go to a nonprofit supporting POC.

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On a statement on Instagram, The Lord of the Rings on Prime account wrote a response to the controversy.

“We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it. JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. “Rings of Power” reflects that. Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white. Middle-earth is not all white. BIPOC belong in middle-earth and they are here to stay.”

This is not the first time a cast’s diversity or lack of diversity stirred controversy. A few weeks before “The Rings of Power” started streaming, a prequel to the TV fantasy series “Game of Thrones” called “House of Dragons” was released. Fans noticed that the prequel attempts to create a more diverse world than in “Game of Thrones.” A few years ago, Idris Alba received backlash when rumors of him playing James Bond circulated in the media.

Neil Gaiman, a fantasy and science-fiction author and screenwriter, has also come out in support, dismantling some of the arguments circulated by racist fans. On Twitter, one user posted, “browner of skin means tanned white similar to people who work in the sun,” to which Gaiman responded, “Tolkien didn’t say ‘The Harfoots spent longer in the sun than any of the other hobbits and were a lot more tanned.” He said that Tolkien described them as “browner of skin.”

The TV adaptation of “The Sandman,” released on Netflix recently, features a similarly diverse cast. In the show, one of the characters, “Death,” is white in the comics and is played by a Black actor named Kirby Howell-Baptiste. Female actors played other characters who were originally male in the comics. Gaiman wrote the original comic and was one of the developers of the show.

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Actor Whoopi Goldberg also came out in support and talked about the absurdity of a diversity rule placed on a fantasy world. Goldberg said, “they don’t exist in the real world.”

“There are no dragons. There are no hobbits. Are you telling me Black people can’t be fake people too? Is that what you’re telling me? I don’t know if there’s like a hobbit club, I don’t know if there are gonna be protests, but people! What is wrong with y’all?”

“The Rings of Power” takes place in Tolkien’s Middle-earth second age, before the timeline of the first book. It is streaming on Amazon Prime.

HBO Max

HBO Max To Release Sitcom Inspired By ‘Multiple Scandals’ At Famous Food Magazine

Bon Appétit has been one of the most popular food magazines and online channels for cooking for quite some time now. After a slew of allegations that people of color working for Bon Appétit were unfairly treated and paid, the company lost a lot of its viewership, and now HBO is making a whole series inspired by it. 

While HBO Max is not mentioning Bon Appétit by name in the show, it does have a former worker serving as a consultant writer, and the streaming service is describing the show’s plot as “focusing on a cohort of young assistants of color who rise up to tear their cookie-cutter corporate culture apart.” 

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The series will be called Enjoy Your Meal, and Ryan Walker-Hartshorn is the former Bon Appétit employee who is working on the series as a consultant. The show claims it will “draw inspiration from the multiple media scandals of summer 2020 and today. 

Waler-Hartshorn was once the only Black employee at Bon Appétit, and served as an assistant to the former editor-and-chief Adam Rapoport. Her role in the Black Lives Matter Movement this summer is what led to a reckoning of Bon Appétit as a publication, in fact, a photo of Rapoport was released last summer in which the former editor was shown wearing black face. Waler-Hartshorn left the publication in August 2020. 

“I feel so blessed, humbled, honored, and freaking excited to be on this journey with these incredible women! Time to eat,” she tweeted out this week. 

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Amy Aniobi will be the writer for the series, she’s also known for her role as writer and executive producer on the Emmy-award winning show Insecure, also available on HBO Max. 

According to reports, “the announcement comes after a four part investigative series into Bon Appétit’s failings on diversity and inclusion by the podcast Reply All – The Test Kitchen – was cancelled, following allegations that some members of the podcast’s production team had contributed to a hostile workplace environment that one former colleague described as a ‘nearly identical toxic dynamic’ to the story they were reporting on.”

Within the first two episodes of The Test Kitchen, before it was cancelled, the hosts examined how Bon Appétit “sidelined” their culturally/linguistically diverse staff throughout its high profile relaunch in the years 2011-2018, and put all the white staff members at the forefront of the branding. 

After Rapoport resigned in June due to the black face photo, a multitude of other revelations regarding Bon Appétit’s unfair treatment of its staff members of color began unfolding, such as major pay disparities between white and non-white staff. By October of last year a majority of the magazine’s highest profile staff had quit due to the lack of progress shown within the pay disparities and other issues.

Golden Globe

Golden Globes Organizers Under Fire For Lack Of Diversity And ‘Ethical Lapses’ 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is the group that organizes and votes on all Golden Globe awards every year. After an investigation performed by the Los Angeles Times, the HFPA has been accused of “ethical lapses and of failing to maintain a sufficiently diverse membership.”

The LA Times claims that the nonprofit body of individuals paid certain members large sums of money for serving on committees and watching films meanwhile these members for the most part have only had careers in journalism, not television. The investigation showed these individuals were paid up to $2 million for their services. 

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The HFPA recently responded to the LA Times accusations, claiming that their “compensation decisions are based on an evaluation of compensation practices by similar nonprofit organizations and market rates for such services.” 

The suggestion that many of our members are not serious journalists is outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and our members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world,” said a representative for the HFPA.

The HFPA has been under fire in the past for similar reasons as well. Their award making process has often been criticised as erratic with constant insider claims that voters on the awards are rewarded with “hospitality in the form of gifts and in-person events with industry stars.” 

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This year’s Golden Globe awards have been riddled with controversy after Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed series ‘I May Destroy You’ received no nominations but the famously terrible Netflix original ‘Emily In Paris’ did. Additionally, Sia’s controversial feature film ‘Music’ was nominated despite the fact that it’s received a slew of criticism regarding its misrepresentation and “caricature-like” adaptation of individuals with autism. 

According to the LA Times, “while the 87-strong HFPA’s ranks include a number of people of color, there are no black members. A representative of the group said the HFPA is aware of the issue and is ‘committed to addressing’ it. The representative also said that the perception that many members are not serious journalists is ‘outdated and unfair, the organisation has a robust admissions and reaccreditation process and that its members write for some of the most reputable publications in the world.’”

The lack of Black members in the HFPA may be an issue that’s “being addressed” internally, however, for many it’s a “too little too late” situation. The fact that it’s 2021 and some of the nation’s largest corporations, agencies, organizations, etc. still don’t have a substantial amount of Black members, and people of color in general, is seen as unacceptable for most, especially considering a majority of these large bodies are only now hiring people of color and Black people after receiving backlash from the general public and Black Lives Matter movement, not because they’re actually committed to promoting diversity.

NYC Broadway

Study Finds Only 20% Of New York Theater Productions Are Written By People Of Color

In an annual study released by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition, it has been found that there are major gaps in racial representation and wage amounts when it comes to white writers versus people of color writers on the New York stage. In the same regard, some theater non-profits were listed as spending up to six times the amount of money on white actors when compared to actors of color. 

“The Visibility Report: Racial Representation on NYC Stages” analyzed the 18 largest non-profit theaters, as well as Broadway production companies in New York, that occurred during the 2017-2018 season. The report did find that the year gave Broadway it’s first play written by an Asian American, Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men, however, it also warned against celebrating small victories like this, as they can “often serve as the poster child of diversity for a particular season, encouraging a false sense of progress.”

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The fact that it’s taken Broadway this long in general to hire an Asian American playwright has been staggering for many critics in the report, and many realize that the 2017-2018 season is only further reflecting the systemic inequalities of racial representation on and off the stage in New York. 

In the 2016-2017 report, it was found that 86.6% of all Broadway and off-Broadway shows were written by white people and 97% of all directors were white. This year, the numbers dipped slightly with 80% of writers and 86% of all directors being white, but essentially, these numbers have always been around the same. 

The report showed that when it came to on stage performers, 60% of all roles on New York City stage went to white actors; to give it some perspective only about 32% of all New York City residents are white, so the on stage roles aren’t reflecting the off stage reality. 23% of all roles went to black actors while only 6.9% went to Asian American actors. 6.1% went to Latino actors, 2% went to Middle Eastern or North African actors, and only .02% went to Indigenous actors. 

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The study was released months after more than 300 stage artists of color signed a letter addressed to “white American theater” as an institution, and called them out for the complete lack of representation on and off the stage, a well as the lack of opportunities made available for people of color on the NYC stage. 

“We have watched you un-challenge your white privilege, inviting us to traffic in the very racism and patriarchy that festers in our bodies, while we protest against it on your stages. We have watched you promote anti-blackness again and again.”

The report also found that when it came to actor wages, non-profit theaters in NYC spent $1.70 for every $1 spent on an actor of color. The wage gaps vary by company but to give an example the Roundabout Theater spent $6.09 on white actors for ever $1 spent on actors of color; the Atlantic Theater was $1.46 for every $1, and the report claimed that a similar gap was “highly likely” to exist on the Broadway stage, however, Broadway productions don’t publish their salaries. 

The end of the study worked to give a similar impact as the 300-page letter, and called upon NYC theater companies to start reflecting the diversity of the streets on the actual stage. When theater reopens in 2021 (tentatively) it will be a unique moment of opportunity for New York to expand their horizons and catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to equality.

Target Store

Target Announces Diversity Plans To Increase Number Of Black Employees By 20%

Companies all across the country have been put under fire in recent months as the Black Lives Matter movement has been mainstreamed, prompting consumers to call on their favorite brands to step up their inclusion and advocacy for racial justice. 

This Thursday, Target pledged to increase the amount of Black employees across its entire workforce by 20% over the next three years. Target has around 350,000 employees in America, a majority of which are white, especially in their executive and leadership positions. 75% of its leadership team is White and 8% is Black; based on data from 2019. 

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When it comes to the retailer’s overall workforce – including part-time employees – 50% are White, 25% Latino, and 15% are Black; making up the top three groups. Within their pledge, however, Target also mentioned their many previous initiatives to increase representation within their stores and in their corporate offices. They claimed to have doubled their representation of non-White officers in the past five years; equating to about 30%. However, only 5% of that population is Black. 

Target also mentioned how now more than half of their stores are run by women and a third are managed by people of color, however, during a movement that is heavily focused on the injustices Black individuals face on a daily basis, consumers aren’t satisfied with the minimal effort they believe Target has put forward. Chief human resources officer for Target, Melissa Kremer, recently posted a news release regarding Target’s new pledge for inclusivity. 

“Inclusivity is a deeply rooted value at Target and we’ve had an ambitious diversity and inclusion strategy for many years for our guests and team. We know that having a diverse workforce and inclusive environment creates a stronger team.”

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Kremer went on to claim that Target would be emphasizing its recruitment and hiring of Black employees and look for new ways to advance their careers once they join the company. Anti-racist training will be implemented as well as new diversity programs that will focus on things like technology, merchandising and marketing; all aspects of Target’s corporate culture that’s mainly run by White individuals. 

Target is no stranger to publicly advocating for issues of social justice. They’ve made public statements telling customers not to carry guns in stores and welcomed all transgender customers to use their bathrooms and changing rooms whenever they need; which caused conservative groups to boycott the brand. 

After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police this year, Target CEO Brian Cornell and other top executives released a statement expressing their pain over Floyd’s death, and made a call for change. He joined a subcommittee of the Business Roundtable to look for new policy recommendations that would directly address the issues with US law enforcement as well as create more opportunities for individuals who were previously incarcerated and looking for work. 

Other retailers joined target in this initiative by donating to civil rights causes and setting new standards when it comes to hiring and recruiting employees in the future. 

The Oscars

The Oscars Announce New Diversity Requirements For ‘Best Picture’ Eligibility 

Within the past few years, the Oscars have come under major fire for their lack of diversity in nominations across all categories. Some may remember the many times that “#OscarsSoWhite” began trending shortly after the nomination lists were announced. It’s been a similar pattern among all of the major award ceremonies, but now, the Oscars are attempting to right some of their past wrongs with a list of new “representation and inclusion requirements” for films nominated for Best Picture. 

This past Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that movies in the Big Picture category will only receive the nomination if they check off every box on their list of new representation standards. The Academy recently released a statement regarding these new standards which will be a part of the Academy Aperture 2025 initiative. 

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“These standards were designed to encourage equitable representation on and off screen in order to better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.” 

The 2020 Oscars in particular received major backlash for a huge lack of diversity within all categories. Even in terms of gender equality, one third- of the nominations were women – a step up from years past – however, there were no female nominees for Best Director, despite the fact that a majority of the year’s most popular films were directed by women. The most staggering aspect of this past year’s ceremony was the fact that only one person of color was nominated for one of the acting categories. 

These new standards for diversity will begin to be phased in with the 94th Oscar ceremony in 2022. For the years in between, a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form will be submitted for any film that’s eligible for Best Picture, however, the form isn’t a list of requirements. Starting in 2024, films will have “to meet two out of four newly created standards to be eligible for Best Picture.”

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The standards are listed by categories A through D, with subcategories. Standard A discusses on-screen representation, themes, and narratives, specifically, at least one of the lead actors must be from an underrepresented racial or ethnic group (which they go on to list), and at least 30% of all “actors in secondary and more minor roles are at least from two underrepresented groups.” The main storyline must also center around an underrepresented group: women, racial/ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ community, individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities. 

Standard B covers more of the behind the scenes making of a film. This standard claims that at least two of the following leadership positions must be done by an individual in an underrepresented group: Casting Director, Cinematographer, Composer, Costume Designer, Director, Editor, Hairstylist, Makeup Artist, Producer, Production Designer, Set Decorator, Sound, VFX Supervisor, Writer. The standard then gets more specific with other level positions on set. 

Standard C regards “industry access and opportunities,” meaning that any film’s financial sector must pay apprentices and interns who are members of underrepresented groups, as well as ensuring they have a multitude of substantive, ongoing paid apprenticeships/internships inclusive of underrepresented groups. 

Finally, Standard D discusses overall audience development. According to the standards subcategories, “the studio and/or film company has multiple in-house senior executives from underrepresented groups on their marketing, publicity, and/or distribution teams.” To read all the specifics of the Academy’s new Best Picture requirements, click here.

Womens Accessories

Brands That Are Putting Inclusivity At The Forefront Of Their Skin-Tone Products 

In the beauty industry, the term “nude” often only refers to a minimal range of light skin tones that would only actually be “nude” for individuals with white skin. Some brands around the world are attempting to combat this inclusivity issue by creating lines of “nude” products that actually range in shades to be accessible for anyone. 

Shades Of Shades is a new sunglasses brand that specializes in making luxury nude eye-wear for all skin tones. They have a wide variety of standard eyeglasses and sunglasses as well. Marsha Douglas-Sydnor is the founder of the brand who also helped create the online shade finder tool on their website that can help people from home match which eye-wear products will match their specific skin tone the best. 

Rebecca Allen founded her own shoe brand, named after herself, after growing frustrated with the “variety” of nude heels that women of color are forced to choose from for their business attire. Her website has a standard 5 nude shades that range in lightness and darkness to be more inclusive. Allen sells heels, flats and sandals. 

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Salone Monet is another new nude shoe brand that runs their business on the motto “nude is not a color.” The brand has a total of six shades that fit a large range of skin tones. The shoes themselves are made in Italy and have grown to be very popular online within the past few months. 

Kahumune also sells nude shoes but is mainly known for their “Find Your Nude” shade matching guide which is said to be extremely accurate. The brand has a total of ten different shades of shoe, and with every purchase the website provides you with a list of different makeup foundation shades from popular brands like Fenty Beauty and Bobbi Brown that match the nude you chose. 

Nubian Skin is one of the most well-known brands on this list, as it’s one of the first women’s undergarment brands to specifically cater to darker skinned consumers. The company was founded on the principle of providing nude lingerie and beyond for women of color who were tired of exclusively buying light nude undergarments. The brand now offers intimates for men as well. 

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Nude Barre is another undergarment company advertised for women of color. The brand was founded 11 years ago and at the time was one of the most inclusive lingerie brands for women of color on the market. Erin Carpenter founded the company back in 2009. Carpenter is a professional dancer so wearing tights and nude undergarments was always a necessity depending on the costume she had to wear. After years of struggling to find a solid brand for her skin tone, she took matters into her own hand and just created one herself. 

Fenty Beauty is one of the biggest beauty brands on the market today and with good reason. Rihanna broke barriers when she launched the brand in 2017 with a foundation line that included 50 different shades to help consumers really find their perfect skin match. The basis of all of Rihanna’s brands has always been inclusivity. As a woman of color herself, Rihanna has discussed multiple times how frustrating it was to always have to have make up on, but never the right shades that actually matched her. 

Now, Fenty Beauty has created a new standard for beauty brands everywhere, especially make up brands. Companies that continue to release “nude” lines with little to no dark tones are receiving major backlash and losing tons of revenue due to the existence of brands like Fenty or Nubian Skin, while brands that have embraced inclusivity as the basis of their products are rising in popularity. 

On Air TV

Floella Benjamin Reflects On Her Career In Advocacy On Children’s TV

Floella Benjamin is a children’s TV presenter who’s used her career to advocate for children of all ages and backgrounds. Benjamin originally was a presenter on ‘Play School’ – a children’s program in the UK – before she began her own production company.

Hiphop Singer on Stage

Tyler, The Creator Slams The Grammys For ‘Pigeonholing Black Artists’

Tyler, The Creator hit a monumental moment in his career this past weekend by winning his first ever Grammy award. However, in an age where award shows aren’t taken as seriously as they once were due to a slew of controversy, racial bias, and political unrest, it’s difficult to know how to react when one of your favorite artists wins. In terms of Tyler’s victory, the rapper himself wasn’t even sure how to react after his name was announced.

Tyler won the award for Best Rap Album for his 2019 record “IGOR,” which was widely well received by fans and critics alike when he first dropped it in May. When Tyler made his acceptance speech he was very appreciative and thankful to all those who helped him on his journey as an artist; his mom even joined him on stage and was clearly over-the-moon for her son. It wasn’t until the post-win press conference backstage where Tyler more openly expressed his thoughts on winning in the Rap category. 

“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he said.

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He went on to say that he was still extremely grateful for the win, however, he felt like it was more of a “backhanded compliment” due to the fact that black artists in general are only ever awarded a Grammy when they’re in the categories designated for rap or “urban” music. He went on to say that it would mean more to artists of color to be recognized on a more mainstream level instead of just being “pigeonholed in urban categories.” 

Especially because, more often than not, when white artists make albums that are outside the mainstream, such as Lana Del Rey or Billie Eilish who were both nominated for Album Of The Year, they’re awarded on that mainstream level that Tyler was referring to. 

It’s a fair point, and the results of this year’s Grammys in general only further prove it. Let’s look at Billie Eilish, who after this weekend became the first artist to take home all of the big four categories (Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year) since 1981. Billie’s album has an extremely alternative sound outside the realm of mainstream radio pop music. Ethereal vocals, digitized instrumentals, and dialogue samples from television made “When We All Fall To Sleep, Where Do We Go?” one of the most distinct album nominations of the night. 

An album like Billie’s was obviously able to gain massive traction and success in what’s considered the “standard” of music even though it had such a different sound than what’s typically popular. So why shouldn’t a rap album be held to the same caliber when it also is so distinct in sound? Tyler and artists alike are wondering the same thing.   

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Sean “Diddy” Combs also discussed his concerns with the Academy at the annual pre-Grammy gala where he was honored with the “Salute to Industry Icons Award.” 

“Black music has never been respected by the Grammys to the point that it should be. So, right now, in this current situation, it’s not a revelation. This thing been going on and it’s not just going on in music. It’s going on in film. It’s going on in sports, It’s going on around the world. We need transparency. We need diversity, ” he said.

The Recording Academy has recently announced new diversity initiatives to make their award shows truly inclusive and representative of all types of music and artists, however, many believe that’s just a band-aid the Academy has claimed in light of the recent controversy surrounding former CEO Deborah Dugan. 

It’s up to the audience and artists to understand that a gold trophy decided upon by a group of individuals in a conference room doesn’t determine the success of a particular body of work. Music is subjective and should be treated as such. If we want any chance at taking award shows, like the Grammys, seriously in the future, a major systematic change needs to occur from within that proves to individuals inside and outside the industry that all types of sounds and artists have a fair shot at winning.

Film

Fresh Concerns Raised Over Whether Film Award Nominations Lack Diversity

We may only be halfway through January but this year’s film award season is already underway with the Golden Globe Ceremony taking place on the 6th of January, alongside the release of this year’s prestigious BAFTA nominations in preparation for the ceremony on the 2nd of February at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Whilst this year’s Golden Globes, which was the 77th annual ceremony, saw Nora “Awkwafina” Lum as the first woman of Asian descent to win best actress in a motion picture in a comedy or musical for her role in “The Farewell” and Meryl Streep with record-breaking 34 nominations at the awards over her illustrious career, questions have been raised over whether the film industry is still not actively embracing diversity. The majority of recipients at the Golden Globes 2020 were white with Awkwafina and Ramy Youseff, winner of the best performance by an actor in a television series, the only two people of color to receive acting awards.

Similarly, there has been much controversy over the recently released BAFTA (73rd British Academy Film Award) nominations which have been accused of being exclusionary to both female and black actors due to the shortlist being all white and with no female directors being nominated. “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix received the most nominations, totaling 11, with “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood” not far behind with 10 nominations each.

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In response to the publication of the nomination shortlist, “#BAFTAsSoWhite” began to trend on Twitter. Contentious points were Margot Robbie’s double nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for both “Bombshell” and “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood” and Cynthia Erivo’s lack of nomination for her role in “Harriet” despite receiving two Golden Globe nominations. It was reported in Variety that despite her lack of nomination, she was asked to perform at the awards by the British Academy, which she turned down.

This is not the first year in which concerns have been raised over the diversity of award nomination shortlists; this is the seventh year in a row in which no female directors have been nominated for a BAFTA.

Chief Executive of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Amanda Berry remarked that she is “disappointed” over the lack of diversity within the nomination list and added “that is not to take anything away from the people who have been nominated”. Nominations for the major categories are chosen through a vote by more than 6,000 BAFTA members from across the globe but in light of the diversity backlash they are planning to review the process.

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Despite the lack of diversity within the nominations themselves, actors have previously used their acceptance speeches or the ceremony as platforms to make political statements about this and similar matters. At this year’s Golden Globe ceremony Michelle Williams encouraged women to participate in civil society and politics saying “don’t forget we are the largest voting body in this country. Let’s make it look more like us,” and also advocating for a women’s right to choose. Similarly, there has been some improvement in the representation of women on the big screen with 40% of 2019’s highest-grossing US movies having women in a leading role, increasing by 9%, however, prominent film critic Dr. Rebecca Harrison qualified this telling the BBC;

“It’s all well and good saying, ‘OK women were protagonists in 40% of the films’, but we don’t really know what their role was in those films without looking at the kind of qualitative textual analysis that goes on, beyond just the numbers. So were these women protagonists in films being represented in a positive way? Did they die at the end? Were they the survivors of some kind of horrific sexual abuse on screen? Were they given lots of dialogue?”

A lack of diversity has been reported across the film industry as a whole indicating that much wider initiatives may be required to encourage women and underrepresented groups to not only participate, but to thrive. A report for the British Film Institute by the Work Foundation in 2017 found that only 3% of those working in production come from a minority ethnic background despite this group making up 12.5% of the population in the UK nationally.

This highlights that the issue of diversity within the film industry is wider than award nominations alone. The Work Foundation report includes a number of barriers highlighted during their research including aspirational barriers (lack of role models), knowledge barriers and financial barriers to name a few. Thereby increasing the importance of the awards bodies recognizing and celebrating the achievements of a variety of individuals/groups to provide these accessible and inspiring role models. Deputy Chairman of BAFTA Krishnendu Majumdar has highlighted this calling the lack of female directors an “industry-wide problem” saying they were “fiercely doing something about it”, as reported by the BBC.