Hollywood Foreign Press Association has zero Black members, report finds

The HFPA, which doles out Golden Globes, also allegedly pays members hefty sums for their committee work.

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards, reportedly has no Blacks among its nearly 90 members, an analysis from The Los Angeles Times has revealed.

According to the Golden Globes website, part of the HFPA’s mission is to “establish favorable relations and cultural ties between foreign countries and the United States of America by the dissemination of information concerning the American culture and traditions as depicted in motion pictures and television through news media in various foreign countries.”

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Chadwick Boseman (left) and co-star Viola Davis are both nominated for Golden Globe Awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in motion-picture acting categories for their stellar roles in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” (Netflix)

But according to USA Today, 2021’s Golden Globe nominations were not a testament to diversity or an accurate depiction of the best content in the U.S. or abroad. In fact, critically-panned content such as Sia’s Music and “Emily in Paris” received nominations, and many other shows like Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You” were left out. 

Also eyebrow-raising: None of the year’s major Black-led films that are considered Academy Award-worthy were nominated for Golden Globes — not Spike Lee‘s Da 5 Bloods, nor the Shaka King-directed and produced Judas and the Black Messiah or the screen adaptation of the critically-acclaimed August Wilson stagepiece, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Chadwick Boseman‘s final movie before he died last summer.

“We do not control the individual votes of our members,” a spokesperson for the HFPA told The Times in response to a query about the omissions. “We seek to build cultural understanding through film and TV and recognize how the power of creative storytelling can educate people around the world to issues of race, representation and orientation.”

Boseman and co-star Viola Davis are both nominated in motion-picture best acting categories. Daniel Kaluuya and Leslie Odom won best supporting nods in film for Judas and the Black Messiah and One Night in Miami, the latter of which nabbed a Best Director nomination for helmer Regina King.

Read More: Netflix dominates Golden Globe nominations; Regina King grabs best director nom

Although there were more acting nominations for people of color in movie categories, only two Black men — actors Don Cheadle and John Boyega — were nominated for awards in TV categories, for “Black Monday” and “Small Axe” respectively. 

The HFPA also allegedly pays their members hefty sums for their work on committees and reportedly allows them to receive gifts from studios whose movies and TV shows those same individuals will cover in the press.

Read More: Satchel and Jackson Lee named 2021 Golden Globe Ambassadors

The HFPA is comprised of 87 members and was recently named in an anti-trust lawsuit which alleged that qualified journalists were barred from entering the organization so that current members’ influence would not be diluted.

Formed in the 1940s by a group of Los Angeles-based writers from overseas, “the journalists, led by the correspondent for Britain’s Daily Mail, formed the Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association and conceived the motto ‘Unity Without Discrimination of Religion or Race,'” reads a Hollywood Foreign Press Association summary of its founding on the Golden Globes website. “It was an uphill struggle at first as the film industry had not yet realized the importance of foreign markets.”

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