FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Oscar Nominations A Victory for Diversity and Inclusion
Congratulations to all of the Oscar nominees. Tuesday's announcement marks a victory for talent, skill, diversity and inclusion in Hollywood after 20-plus years of picketing, protesting and pushing the movie industry to do the right thing.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition was especially pleased to see the great American filmmaker, Spike Lee, receive his first Best Director Oscar nomination for his timely and powerful, “BlacKKKlansman,” which so aptly captures the tone of President Trump’s America.
This well-deserved recognition is long overdue.
In 1996, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, joined by an alliance of community groups and entertainment industry supporters, first led picketers outside the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles to protest the absence of African American Academy Award nominees.
“We are going to open up the consciousness of Hollywood,” Rev. Jackson told the Los Angeles Times, adding that the movie industry depicts African Americans and other racial and cultural groups as “less intelligent than we are, less hard-working, less universal, less patriotic and more violent than we are.”
Twenty years later not much had changed. In 2015, #OscarsSoWhite was born when not a single African American or other person of color received a lead or supporting-actor nomination. The next year, when people of color were again shutout, Rev. Jackson renewed his calls to protest. “This disgraceful, man-made drought is nothing new,” Rev. Jackson said at the time. “In Hollywood, there has been no climate change.”
In 2017, “Moonlight” broke the shameful streak of exclusion, winning best picture. And now, two years later, from the lush mountains and sparkling waterfalls of Wakanda to the streets of Mexico City to Beale Street, Hollywood is looking more and more like the real world.
“Black Panther,” one of this year’s best picture nominees, shattered box office records in 2018. There’s nothing like $1.3 billion in worldwide ticket sales to open even the most closed mind to the reality Rev. Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition have been raising for decades: inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s good for business.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.