How do we address the lack of diversity in Hollywood?

The View’s co-host, Whoopi Goldberg headed a heated discussion on the show about the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominee list for the second consecutive year. Many stars are outraged over the absence of African American, Latino and Asian actors on this year’s list. Amongst this group are Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and Spike Lee, who have vowed to boycott the Oscars. Jada even went as far as to upload a video of herself requesting other actors to follow suit—however, not everyone agrees with Jada.

Whoopi took to daytime TV to express her opinion on the topic, making it clear that choosing not to attend the show would mean boycotting Chris Rock, this year’s host. “…To boycott him seems just as bad as what everybody’s saying,” the co-host stated.

Instead, she suggests taking action against the movies that don’t welcome diversity.

Don’t go see the movies that don’t have your representation,” said Goldberg. “That’s the boycott you want.”

Will Smith’s former co-star Janet Huber responded to Jada as well with a video of her own, pointing out that there are more pressing issues in the world than the Oscars.

“People are dying,” the actress said. “Our boys are being shot left and right. People are hungry. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills.”

Not to mention the water crisis that has emerged in Flint, Michigan. Huber adds that Smith is asking actors to jeopardize their careers by boycotting the awards show and according to her, “You don’t do that.” She even takes a shot at Will’s Concussion performance, claiming that she doesn’t believe he deserved a nomination. The actress proposes that our power lies in ‘loving and respecting ourselves in a way that we would like others to do.’

Jada and Janet aren’t the only actors who have an opinion about the recent nominations. George Clooney sat down with Variety and expressed his disappointment in the Academy for there exclusion of African Americans. He feels that the Academy used to do a good job at rewarding Black actors for their work but it has become worse over the last ten years. He went on to say that these actors aren’t given the opportunities in films that would allow them to be nominated.

“How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films,” he questioned. However, he made it clear that there were several quality films that deserved accolade and this was no excuse.

“…“Creed” could have gotten nominations; “Concussion” could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for “Beasts of No Nation;” and “Straight Outta Compton” could have been nominated,” he said.

Jane the Virgin, star Gina Rodriguez also weighed in, mentioning that the problem also lies in the lack of diversity on the board. “It’s not as diverse as reflected in today’s society,” she told Entertainment Tonight. Selma actor, David Oyelowo supported Gina’s argument when he spoke out against the Academy’s choice of nominees at the King Legacy Awards.

“This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room,” Oyelowo expressed. “I am an academy member and it doesn’t reflect me and it doesn’t reflect this nation.”

Although these actors share different views on how to handle the issue, they can all agree that Hollywood needs to do a better job at welcoming diversity. Maybe boycotting is not the answer, but as George Clooney suggests, handling the situation head on. We need to see more Lupita Nyong’o’s and Michael B. Jordan’s starring in films. Hollywood is not short of diverse actors, but these actors are short of the opportunities. Also representing the audience that enjoy these films in Academy’s board will also result in a less biased decision-making process.

This problem not only lies on screen but also, on the magazine stands and even in the corporate world. In the words of George Clooney, “We need to get better at this,”

What do you think needs to be done about the lack of inclusion in Hollywood?

Shanice Gravesandy

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