After #OscarsSoWhite fallout, The Academy’s 2016 class just got more diverse

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It’s about time.

After two consecutive years of the Oscars’ lacking in actors of color, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has created its most diverse class ever. The honorary organization invited a total of 683 industry professionals to the 2016 class — 41 percent are people of color, and 46 percent are women. In doing this, The Academy hopes the diverse voters could make for more diverse nominees in Oscars ceremonies to come.

Lupita Nyong’o on #OscarsSoWhite: ‘I stand with my peers who are calling for change’

Some of the invited film professionals include Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”), John Boyega (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Nia Long (“Boyz N the Hood” and “Love Jones”) and “Creed” director Ryan Coogler. Even Ice Cube, whose hit movie “Straight Outta Compton” got an Oscar-snub, received an invitation to join The Academy. Many notables in Hollywood expressed their support and thanks through Twitter.

While these efforts are welcome and long overdue, there is still work to do. According to statistics from LA Times, the percentage of women in The Academy will only increase by 2 percent, and members of color will increase by 3 percent, from 8-11 percent. Creator of #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, had a few words to say to LA Times about the immediate impact: “..the 11 percent [people of color], while that may be representative of black people in this country, it definitely is not representative of all people of color in this country.”

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In an official post on their website, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs writes, “This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today. We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider, and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

 

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay reacted by saying, “I’m proud of the effort. It was intentional. It was intense. It was inclusive. And it was imperative. The Academy is heading in the right direction on a long road. Good start.”

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