April Reign reminds Black women of their worth: ‘We deserve stories told by us, for us’

During Women's History Month, we pay tribute to 10 Black women who are moving the culture forward

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Our Black Women Amplified series highlights the accomplishments of ten Black women who are creating their own history with their unique contributions to the world whether it be through media, arts, science or politics. We salute their accomplishments and are inspired by their example. Below is more on our fifth honoree, April Reign.

You can’t talk about the long push for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood without talking about April Reign. A media strategist and advocate for diversity and inclusion, Reign is known for creating the viral #OscarsSoWhite hashtag after the 87th Academy Awards nominations were announced on January 15, 2015.

The New York Times recently published an oral history of #OscarsSoWhite, where Reign opened up about what lead to that viral tweet that changed everything.

She explains, “My kid was upstairs getting ready for school and I was watching in my family room as I got ready for work. It struck me that there were no people of color nominated, so I picked up my phone, tweeted ‘#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.’ It happened in seconds.”

April Reign
Director of Marketing for Fractured Atlas April Reign appears in a panel discussion at the Scholars Symposium at the March On Washington Film Festival on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for March On Washington Film Festival)

That one viral tweet had some staying power. The tweet prompted a viral hashtag, with thousands of people writing #OscarsSoWhite tweets, thus bringing the glaring issues in the Academy and the Oscars’ nomination process to the global stage. 

The movement ushered in a new wave of conversation, leading to massive change within the academy and a public diversification of its membership.

Reign told the Huffington Post in 2016, “It’s not about saying who is snubbed and who should have been nominated, it’s about opening the discussion more on how the decisions were made, who was cast and who tells the story behind the camera…My goal was just to have the conversation and push the dialogue further.”

Read More: Q&A with April Reign: Serena, diversity, and lessons for Black women in the workplace

Having worked as a campaign finance lawyer for 15 years, Reign is now a co-founder of #SheWillRise, a movement dedicated to appointing the first Black woman to the Supreme Court of the United States.

She is also the CEO of Reignstorm Ventures, where she advocates for the “representation of marginalized communities of the arts and technology.”

But Reign hasn’t stopped there. In 2020, she partnered with Overture Global and launched Ensemble, a new digital content studio hoping to “accelerate opportunities for people of color.”

She said at the time, “We are in a unique period wherein we’re able to bring together brands and creators to tell stories, such as interviews, web series, and documentaries, that reflect a wide range of American and global human experiences.”

When giving advice to other women blazing their own trail, she told theGrio, “Know your worth. Most of us have suffered from imposter syndrome at one point in our lives, but we should all be walking through this world with the confidence of a mediocre white man.”

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