Yes, the Oscars are in need of diversity

Trianna Downing, Managing Editor

Secretly, I’ve always wanted to be an actress.

Sometimes, when I’m doing my hair, my comb becomes a microphone. I take time to thank all of my loyal friends, my supportive family, the director of the movie, television show, or play. I wipe away my tears, send a kiss into the crowd, and then continue to comb my hair.

Because in reality, I could never be an actress.

Hollywood’s diversity problem is the main reason to why I didn’t, why I could never, pursue an acting career. From what I’ve seen, Hollywood has not done enough to influence my dreams of being an actress. I’m sorry, but I refuse to play the “black and ghetto” best friend to the white female protagonist.

For the 2015 Oscars, diversity was lacking in all aspects. Out of all the films nominated for an award, only five were by directors who were not white. Every actor and actress nominated for an Oscar was white. And not a single female director or writer was nominated.

The 2016 Oscars is no different. For the third time since 1998, not a single actor or actress of color has been nominated for an Oscar. No female director or writer has been nominated. Except for Alejandro G. Iñárritu, there are no directors of color.

Hollywood, this is just sad.

I understand that these actors and actresses and directors have worked hard for their nominations and their wins and happen to be white. They are all fantastic at what they do and obviously have great work ethic to have received such an honor. 

But doesn’t that say something about the lack of opportunity people of color and those of the LGBTQ community?

Give actors, actresses, and directors of color and of the LGBTQ community representation. In the award shows, in television, movies, and theater. Instead of a straight cis male playing a transgender character, give the role to a transgender man or woman. An African-American male should be playing the role of Michael Jackson, not a white man. Directors of color and of the LGBTQ community have intense and personal stories to tell.

In the coming years, I want more representation in Hollywood. One day I want my daughter or son to break out of the bathroom mirror that I confined my acting career to. I want them to believe that they could actually make it.

There’s work to be done, Hollywood. The only time to start is now.