AUP. Ep. 35 Going IN on the Golden Globes

AUP EP#35 TRANSCRIPT

Transcribed: Cameron Blackwell

Completed: 1/13/21 

Cortney Wills: [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to Acting Up the podcast that dives deep into the world of TV and film that highlights our people, our culture, and our stories. I’m your host, Cortney Wills, Entertainment Director at theGrio. And this week we are going in on the Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, better known as the HFPA, has been steeped in controversy since last year when an L.A. Times investigation accused the organization of a lot of wild stuff. Among the chief complaints about this culture of corruption was the fact that out of its 84 members, none of them were Black. Tons of questions about ethical conflicts within the organization were raised after the L.A. Times dropped this bombshell that accused the HFPA of having racist voting practices, favoring projects that provided them with luxury trips and fancy gifts, and seemed to explain the Globe’s long history of snubbing really excellent projects from Black creators. Among them, When They See Us, I May Destroy You. I mean, the list goes on and on. But it was no secret that the EPA’s nominations for the Globes were always a little peculiar and definitely lacking in the melanin department. So after this bombshell story dropped back in February, Time’s Up launched a protest campaign, and everyone, it seems in Hollywood signed their name to that letter that really kind of reamed your organization for their practices. Everyone from Kerry Washington to Sterling K. Brown to Jurnee Smollett kind of linked arms and stood up and said, enough is enough with this. What came next was a response from the organization’s leadership, saying that they would do better. And by March, the organization was promising some new diversity efforts, including a plan to hire a diversity consultant and other advisers. In mid-March, a whole bunch of very powerful publicists and PR firms sent an open letter demanding reform from the HFPA. And I’ve never seen anything like that. I mean, publicists are kind of the unsung heroes and gatekeepers of Hollywood, and I have never seen them band together in this way over a cause. At the time, the HFPA promised to add at least 13 Black members by the end of that year, and that seemed like a promising idea. But by April, Deadline reported that an HFPA member and former eight-term president Philip Berk sent an email that said that Black Lives Matter is a racist hate movement and criticized its co-founder, Patrisse Cullors, for this real estate purchase that she did. Two days later, NBC, the network that usually broadcast the Golden Globes, condemned Philip Berk, and a few days later, he was fired. Meanwhile, the newly procured crisis communications firm quit, as did their newly appointed diversity consultant. The following month, the organization unveiled plans for diversity reform, but that just wasn’t enough to get Hollywood back on board. On May 7th, Netflix put out an open letter where Ted Sarandos wrote that he wasn’t buying it. They weren’t buying into all of these declarations and attempts at change and basically said, We’re out until you do better. WarnerMedia did the same thing, and the real kind of the nail in the coffin was when NBC announced that it would not air the Golden Globes in 2022. Fast forward to August, the HFPA announced some new bylaws, some changes in eligibility requirements for membership, and some benchmarks in the DEI area of things. So that’s a lot of stuff. It was a kind of snowball effect down this hill of drama, and it seemed like even after the initial controversy, the organization just kind of kept on dropping the ball, kept on tripping over itself until a couple of months ago when they announced the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer, Neil Phillips, and he’s our guest today on Acting Up. I spoke to Neil just days after the HFPA announced that they indeed were going to proceed with the 2022 Golden Globes broadcast or not, and unveiled their list of nominees. I wanted to find out what’s been going on, what work is being done, and really like why he would take this job. Thank you so much for joining me today on Acting Up. I have all of the questions and you’re smiling right now, so that’s good. I hope that you are smiling at the end of this conversation because my oh my, what an easy gig you have right now. [00:04:47][284.3]

Neil Phillips: [00:04:48] Yeah, I mean, it’s no work involved, you know, just nice, easy cruise down some real calm waters. [00:04:57][9.3]

Cortney Wills: [00:04:58] So no pressure. So the HFPA. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association this week announced its contenders for the 2022 Golden Globes. I think that the response to that announcement and to the Globes this year overall has been tepid. You know? To put it kindly, I think people are going like, wait, I thought we were done with this, I thought we were not doing the Golden Globes. I thought that you know, you all were thinking about things and reflecting and learning, and NBC doesn’t want to show them so what is going on. [00:05:34][36.4]

Neil Phillips: [00:05:35] The HFPA has been in the business of recognizing excellence in film and television in the entertainment industry for, you know, this will be the 79th awarding. So that’s what the HFPA does. And so the fact that the HFPA is doing what it was created to do that makes sense, and it makes even more sense, especially because of the work that your organization has put in over the last several months to respond to the criticism, to respond to being called out. And I will say justifiably, and what to me is important is that the organization said, OK, we are not just going to try to make some kind of quick fix to placate the launching these criticisms. We’re going to look at ourselves in a very deep and deliberate way. And we’re going to respond in that way. We’re going to look at how we’re structured. We’re going to look at how we function, how we operate. We’re going to look at our governance. We’re going to look at our eligibility criteria. We’re going to look at our membership outreach. We’re going to look at our executive staffing. We’re going to add a Chief Diversity Officer position. We’re going to fill that position. This is how you want organizations to respond. I think it’s a wonderful thing that our society has gotten to a place where the activism and the heightened awareness will call individuals and organizations out when they misstep. When there is underrepresentation, that’s a necessary check and balance. It’s wonderful. And I think there has to be space for those individuals and organizations to be allowed to transform. Don’t we want that to happen? Don’t we want change? And so when I see the depth of the HFPA efforts to reform and transform, it gives me great confidence that this is going to bear fruit, not just in the short term, again, to respond to immediate criticism that needs to happen, but more importantly in the long term, in a sustainable way where true change can happen within the organization within the organizations that the organization engages with within the industry and hopefully given the visibility of Hollywood far beyond this industry. [00:07:56][141.1]

Cortney Wills: [00:07:58] Listening to many of the issues and the criticisms about how the HFPA was operating, they weren’t operating like in a silo, like there were other people participating in some of this stuff, right? Like the film companies, the publicists like, you know, if there were gifts being accepted and trips being taken, somebody was saying yes and, you know, sending the passport number to get them on the planes. And then it felt like when the shit hit the fan, the entire industry was like, Boom, we’re not playing any more and like, Shame on you for doing that. But I guess my question is, is it entirely accurate to place all of the blame and wrongdoing on the organization when I surmise that there were off, you know, that we were all kind of taking part in it in some way? [00:08:44][46.9]

Neil Phillips: [00:08:45] You know, the answer is no. Meaning the HIPAA is part of a system, right? We hear that word a whole lot as it refers to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and isms. It’s part of the system. And for all the fingers to be pointed at the HFPA as the only organization that is misstepping throughout this system, I know that’s not that’s not accurate. It’s not right. It’s misleading. And it could be damaging by letting other elements of the system off the hook. So that that’s the short answer is no. With that said, the HFPA and any organization that finds itself under this kind of scrutiny has to take accountability and has to park the well. You know, there are this is an industry-wide problem or there are others who are misstepping. Also like that, put that off to the side and own your faults and own your transgressions and then deal with them and put that in the category of this is what we can control. I can’t control what any other organization is going to do in response. I can’t control what statement they’re going to make or what the media is going to say. I can’t control those things, but what I can control is how we exist as part of this system. And these are the things that we have to try to address. So that’s where the HFPA has been and that’s where it’s going to continue to be which. Is let’s take care of what we can take care of, and we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, this is where we are faulty. This is where we are lacking and we’ve got to address those things. Some of those things can be addressed quickly. Most of them can’t. Most of them take time and resolve. And in many ways, it’s hard to find tangible measures for progress. In some ways, it’s easier, but in other ways, it’s harder to find that tangible measure. But you have to say to yourself, if we are in the business of transforming a becoming something different, something better, something more aware, something more enlightened that takes time. [00:10:59][133.2]

Cortney Wills: [00:11:00] Why are you doing the Golden Globes? Because you’re doing. You’re not walking away. You’re not giving up. You’re not saying, I want to play with you anymore. This is too hard, which I think would be easy. Maybe like we all didn’t have to do a Globes this year. Nobody was like, Excuse me, where the Globe nominations, right? So in a way, what at first might seem like, why would they do that is like God. It’s kind of ballsy that they’re doing this anyway, and they’re saying, we’re going to take on the work. I think that’s admirable. I saw you know, OK, yeah, like maybe a little bit of excitement on social media but pales in comparison to other years. And it made me feel like, wow, like the other side of this, they are really nervous. I think I think that had more to do with being nervous than being actually angry or indignant. It’s like, I don’t know if the public wants me to be clapping for the HFPA right now, should I be rejecting this award? Like, you know, where where are we on the pissed-off scale? I don’t care what it is. If you put your blood, sweat, and tears into a project, you are giddy if it’s noticed by the academy or your local library. If someone’s like Cortney, I really loved your article when I’m in the store, I’m really excited about that. So please, like, don’t act like you don’t care that this project was nominated. (Yeah) There was an announcement of several new journalists being added to the organization, some of which I know, love, admire very much. We’ll talk to one of them next. So there was that move and then there was you, and it felt like, OK, they’re doing something. Something’s cooking over there at the HFPA. Yeah. And then the next thing is the nomination. So I think people just don’t have a real insight into what’s been going on since the bullshit to now. And that might be why they don’t necessarily know how to feel about it. I mean, I write for theGrio, you know, like, we are very, very disappointed in y’all. However, you know, the nominations came out and I’m like, What do we do with this? Like, there’s really good stuff nominated. Even when to cover, how to cover as a journalist feels like I don’t know who I’m cosigning yet. Like, I’m still in the air and meeting you. You guys cannot see Neil, but there is a big white smile like, I do not want to bully this man. So lovely and saying some really smart things. [00:13:18][138.6]

Neil Phillips: [00:13:19] You’re kind to say that and you’re great to to whatever degree you’re holding off on bullying me. I appreciate it. You know, it is a complex dynamic, but part of what should be at play here is that there’s creative brilliance being celebrated, being acknowledged and celebrated and that in and of itself, right is part of what this award does. It’s part of what a Golden Globe nomination and awarding should do. It should acknowledge incredibly hard work and an artistry and brilliance and collaboration and all of these things. And so my hope is that the artists who have been identified and nominated are feeling that. [00:14:06][46.2]

Cortney Wills: [00:14:06] And we’re talking about solutions. Your appointment is one of them. And the other one is there’s a lot. There were no Black people like that was a damn shame that first off, what do you think when you learned that there was not one Black member? [00:14:19][12.5]

Neil Phillips: [00:14:20] Yeah, I thought that I don’t even know how that could happen. And the fact that it did happen means that there was a significant transgression, significant oversight, meaning that how this was missed was bothersome to me, and was I was really curious about it, and I’ve shared this with the HFPA membership that I have a chance to meet back about this time last month and with Helen is president and Todd as interim CEO. This is when I say when I say that the criticism was justified, this is what I mean. The criticism was justified and they don’t push back on that. They recognize that the truth of it is that you talked about the summer of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. And as painful as that was in so many ways, it provided an opportunity for introspection, individual and organizational, and those of us who took that opportunity. Our hopefully better for it. You talked about the missteps even after the missteps were pointed out, the oversights were pointed out. That is so common because if you think of an individual or an organization who finds themself in that position of having transgressed, they’re also an individual or an organization that’s not really well equipped to navigate their way through, particularly the early phases of that public scrutiny. And so you see that right? There’s the misstep that’s being pointed out and then the response, there are missteps that happen within them. This is in the past for the HFPA, right? And the work ahead is what we’re focusing on. And again, I’ve just been so pleased by what I’ve come to learn is the work that’s been done in so many different dimensions of the organization. That’s how transformation and sustainable change happens. I can tell you that part of the the reform effort on the part of the HFPA had to do with looking closely at eligibility criteria, expanding that criteria in some ways, altering it in others to be more expansive. And in addition to that, there was real attention paid to membership to candidate outreach avenues, right? It’s such an easy and convenient thing for organizations to say, Well, we just can’t find them right. Yes, we know we need more women in executive positions at this firm, but we just can’t find them. Yes, we know we need more Black applicants to this college. We just can’t find them. It’s an easy thing to say if you haven’t done the work to look at how your organization functions and the channels that you rely on to expose your opportunities to the broader audience. If you haven’t taken a look at those and then done some work around them, then you are not in a position to say you can’t find them. You have to do that work. HFPA added 21 new members to what was eighty-four. Right. So it’s a 25 percent increase, which is by far the largest increase in membership that they experienced. And that was significant. That’s what we should be talking about, too. [00:17:34][193.5]

Cortney Wills: [00:17:34] Absolutely. And you know, prior to this conversation, the caliber of journalists that have been added to the organization recently was enough for me to really take an interest look. After getting to talk to you about this, I am very clear. I’m crystal clear on why the HFPA brought you on board for this gig. But what I’m not clear about is why you would say yes. [00:17:58][23.5]

Neil Phillips: [00:17:59] Yeah. First, let me say thank you for saying that why I would take it. I tell you, Cortney, I, first of all, I really believe and this goes back to your comments earlier. I really, really believe and I’m committed to the not just stopping with pointing the fingers with the calling out. I’m really committed to that, that that there has there has to be the doing beyond that. And you know, I I have a real faith in the inherent good in each of us as individuals and organizations are made up of individuals. And I believe I’ve just met too many good people of all races, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious backgrounds, political orientation, sexual orientation. I I’ve just met too many good people from each one of any group that you want to name to lose faith in our ability to grow and become more than what we’ve been, right? I have tremendous amount of faith in that. And when I look at this industry and see the potential for impact right through the artistry and the creative brilliance and these broadcast channels that reach so many hearts and minds and souls across our Globe. When this industry gets this right, the lasting impact and the ripple effects for each of us in our day-to-day existence will be immeasurable. And it feels like a great opportunity to try to blend who I’ve been personally and professionally and who I aspire to be with this platform that can impact so many with an organization that I believe is doing the right things to transform itself into something better. So put all those things together, and here I am and ready, ready for the ride. [00:19:51][112.2]

Cortney Wills: [00:19:52] Neil, thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we can do it again soon. See you later! My next guest is Kelley Carter, currently the senior entertainment writer at ESPN’s The Undefeated host of Another Act and Emmy-winning journalist. She’s one of the newest members of the HFPA, and she’s also one of my best friends, so I wanted to find out why in the world she decided to get in this ring. I spoke to Kelley the day that the HFPA announced that the Golden Globes would be going down this weekend, January 9th, in Los Angeles. There won’t be an audience. It will not be on television, but it is still happening, so I wanted to get her take on what’s really going on. Hi, Kelley. I expected the HFPA to go away for a while, to sit down somewhere quietly and alone and reflect on what they had been doing and how they could effect change. And when I saw your name at the top of the list of its new recruits, it did make me take another look because I know you, I know what kind of journalist you are, what kind of writer you are. I can vouch for your integrity and your professionalism, and let me know that they are really not fooling around and gave their efforts some instant credibility. Kelley, what was your experience with the Globes before the controversy? [00:21:11][79.4]

Kelley Carter: [00:21:12] The first big, colossal entertainment enterprise that I was a part of actually was the Golden Globes, and I think that was like, you know, winter of January 2008. I think it was that year. And I remember covering the red carpet and just being blown away by everyone, everyone around the world in this industry coming into town to really kick off awards season. I can’t believe I’m actually in the room. Coming off of that red carpet, I very quickly understood that I was one of few Black people that got that approval to be on that carpet. And at the time it was because I worked for USA Today, which obviously biggest newspaper in the world, international paper in the world. So it had less to do with what I looked like and who I am and what my gender is, but a lot to do with the outlet that I worked for, but even still, not a lot of Black faces. Yeah. So I was very aware of what it meant for me to be in that space at that time. And so the Golden Globes have always meant something important to me because that was really my introduction to Hollywood as I know it. [00:22:23][71.0]

Cortney Wills: [00:22:25] When news that the HFPA was, let’s just say, corrupt. Were you surprised? [00:22:31][6.2]

Kelley Carter: [00:22:32] I have votes and other award shows and one of them. I think we share AAFCA, the Africa, the African-American Film Critics Association, and we all know that that was created because there wasn’t a space that gave us access that gave us the power to make decisions about what we think are the best films, the best actors, directors, you know, and so on, so forth of the year. So I wasn’t surprised to hear that there weren’t any voters that looked like us that were part of the HFPA. I was surprised, however, at the reaction that that news and discovering that news got from Hollywood itself. And I think we can safely say that Hollywood responded in the way they did because of what the world was looking like at the time. You know, we were coming off this very powerful activation in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. And every industry being called to task, every board of directors, you know, being called to task, people are looking at them and realizing how homogenous everyone looked, and they did not look like us at all. And so I think to find a place in what we think of as probably the most progressive industry and that’s Hollywood out there is lacking in diversity. It wasn’t a shock, but I was a little shocked at the response. The L.A. Times story was one thing, but I think seeing a lot of Hollywood’s biggest names and even some of the biggest publicists that aren’t, you know, names and, you know, families in Iowa and households in Michigan. But but seeing them respond the way they did made me, you know, take a little bit of a closer look and pay attention to what was happening. [00:24:14][101.7]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:15] Same, I’ve never seen like publicist. It wasn’t even just Black publicists. Like, I’ve never seen the publicists who are essentially the gatekeepers of this talent. [00:24:23][8.3]

Kelley Carter: [00:24:24] They’re the most powerful people in this town over being honest. [00:24:26][1.8]

Cortney Wills: [00:24:27] I’ve never seen them band together that way for anything actually other than this, and I was so surprised and it made me understand that like, this was not news to them. This was clearly something that had been a slow burn for a long te, and they were like, finally, you know, this is getting called out. Really, the only gripe, you know, and the only issue that came to light, it wasn’t just that there were no Black members, very, very few members of color at all. It was kind of the practices the way that they went about curating this award show, and it made me wonder how I would have felt as a journalist if I was on the receiving end of those wonderful trips to, you know, wherever and the special treatment and the outrageous gifts that these journalists were getting. Because you wonder if they knew that they were really doing something wrong or they thought, maybe this is what it’s like at the top, this is what it’s like at this caliber of press coverage, right? [00:25:22][55.1]

Kelley Carter: [00:25:23] I know of journalists, you know, of journalists who the only reason– I mean, they travel the most glorious places. They’re going to Tokyo, you know, Paris to sit down with Angelina Jolie. London, you know, Miami when it’s winter elsewhere in the country and they’re staying in really great hotels, eating great food or having per diums, and they’re only able to do that because the studio is paying for those things. I think that what happened is that with an entity as powerful as the Golden Globes and the Hollywood foreign press, it just looked funny to have this one organization that be the thing that connected a lot of those journalists that were voting members of that organization. But the truth of the matter is that there are many other journalists who again don’t have the resources that some of us who work for these larger, powerful media conglomerates have. And I do think that that’s important to talk about because I know or I would imagine at least, that some members of the Hollywood Foreign Press probably were looking like we we ain’t the only ones who, you know, get offered trips. (Yeah). However, it is a different bird. I think when you’re talking about the Golden Globes and then you look at certain TV shows or certain films that are getting nominated that aren’t getting recognized in other places. The thought is, did Emily in Paris get that nomination because some members were treated to the same thing that other journalists were treated to, to be fair, to come out and and participate out of the country on a on a foreign trip and put up in hotels and so on, so forth. But but it looks a certain way when no one else is nominating that show. And it’s a surprise that it gets something as prestigious as a Golden Globes nomination. The question is, is that because of of a trip? And I understand that outside looking in. [00:27:25][121.9]

Cortney Wills: [00:27:26] Me too and why would you, why did you join? [00:27:28][2.3]

Kelley Carter: [00:27:29] Yeah, no, it’s a great question. So when everyone was on Twitter, you know, taking in the L.A. Times stories and and talking about how there hadn’t been a Black voter in three decades. Part of the Hollywood foreign press, I tweeted. Hey, Hollywood, Foreign Press. I’m a Black, you know, entertainment reporter based in Los Angeles, I love a crack at a vote and that became one of my most, you know, viral tweets. It got retweeted a lot. I started getting, you know, follows from pretty big names in the industry like Ellen Pompeo was one of the first people. I think she saw the retweet and then started following me on Twitter and I was like, Oh my God, like, what have I done? Every time you do a tweet that it gets more than like three retweets, I’m like, Oh God, what have I done there? Should I delete it? What? What’s happened? And I tweeted that out at the time because. And you know this, Cortney, I mean, every time someone says, Where do we find Black talent? Where do we find Black reporters? It’s like, Hey, we’re out here, we’re out here, and we’ve been out here for a while now. Granted, this town can do a lot better because they’re not a lot of us out here. I mean, I think that I I safely can say that I know every Black entertainment reporter in Hollywood that’s covering Hollywood. I know them on a first name basis. Probably I’m in a group chat with them, you know, or we, you know, we’ve had brunch together like I like, we all know each other. So that was really me saying like, we’re out here, you know, you don’t really have to look as far as you think. When I was asked to apply for the Hollywood foreign press, I thought about it. I asked a couple of trusted friends, some some reporters, some publicists, even some talent. You know, some actors and showrunners, you know, is this something that that I should do? And it was a resounding yes from everyone, and that surprised me because I thought I was going to get some pushback. And so when I kind of thought about it and meditated and sat with myself on it, I said, Here’s the thing I could continue to stand on the sidelines and bark, or I could get in the game and try and effect some change. I could actually put myself in a position to have a seat at a table that not a lot of us have ever had seats at that table. And I decided to do that because, look, you know this about me. I’m like, Black for real. I’m not Black for play-play. I’m not. I’m not. Check a box Black like I’m real Black. And I knew that I was going to be able to bring my full Black self to this experience. HFPA has made a concerted effort to make changes in a way that we still have not seen other entities make those changes too. And I think for that, we have to give this group the benefit of the doubt. And I think that it’s OK to be cautiously optimistic about the changes that are happening here. But I really am hoping that people are understanding that change is coming and that things are happening and that if you know me and you know the type of reporter I am, you know, the type of person I am, you know, the things that I care about, things that I value and cherish, that I most certainly wouldn’t raise my hand to be part of something and not have an active voice in that. I just made sure that my Black ass was in the room when it came to some real Black shows because I want to make sure that names are spelled correctly, that if this person is supposed to be a lead versus supporting that, that was, you know, slotted the right way because I didn’t want somebody to be like, you know, Tyler Perry’s sisters, you know, everybody. Everybody’s name was spelled wrong. Jamal is spelled with two A’s, not one A, you know, like whatever the case may be like. And I know that those are such little tiny things, but you know, those are actually really big things. So I just wanted to be in the room and be present for for those moments. It’s honestly Cortney. It’s the same as we are with AAFCA. You know, we’re not I’m not calling up people saying, Hey, let’s have a voting bloc. You know, let’s make sure that you know, all of us are voting for, you know, 50 Cent’s new show on stars like, we’re not doing that in AAFCA we’re not doing that in the Hollywood Foreign Press either. [00:31:49][260.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:31:50] Right, right. But I would imagine and correct me if I’m wrong, that one thing that might be new is that the did you see blank project, you know, presented to the rest of the organization? Maybe they maybe probably haven’t seen some of the same projects that you have. [00:32:08][17.2]

Kelley Carter: [00:32:08] And you damn right. I was like, Hey, such and such starring such and such Black woman actor is amazing. Go watch it. I totally. If you’re looking for a good thing to binge. I would totally suggest. Yeah, bingeing this thing. Sure, of course. Of course, because that’s what I mean about bringing my full Black female experience as an entertainment journalist. Now here’s the thing that I feel like it’s important to say. Like, I think that when we talk about a viewing audience and we talk specifically about a Black viewing audience, a lot of times we gravitate towards projects because we’re so used to not seeing ourselves. Those projects may not be good. Sometimes they’re not great at all. But as a viewing audience, we get very excited because we just realized that we are not represented on television and film all the time, so when it happens, our immediate instinct as a viewer is to say, Oh my God, this is so good and it’s so good because we’re seeing our aunties, our cousins, our moms, our friends on on screen. Now, as critics, we recognize that we say like, OK, you know, we’re seeing this representation so great. But we also can say there’s some work that needs to be done here, like we can say that. And so I think that, you know, if anyone is expecting me to come in and just say, I’m going to go down the line and vote for Black people because Black people need to be put on, I’m not doing that. But what I am saying is there are shows and films that may not be getting the critical shot that they’re getting because they’re Black. And I want to make sure that I’m vocal about telling people that they should be tuning in to these things and should be given a closer look to these things. [00:33:48][100.4]

Cortney Wills: [00:33:49] It takes a special kind of a journalist to be up to that task, and I couldn’t be happier that you are one of these new members who are going to help effect this change that I am. I’m optimistic about it coming. You know, like you said, I think being cautiously optimistic makes sense. But this is what we want to see in these growing pains and these tough conversations and this willingness to, I think, be patient and be optimistic is kind of the work. So we’ve been asking for the work. You all say you’re doing it. And you know, here we are on the other end kind of waiting to see what happens now that the nominations have been announced, like what are you? What are you excited about? [00:34:29][39.9]

Kelley Carter: [00:34:29] I’m excited to see who the winners are. For me, this was such a special experience for a number of reasons. I think it was announced on a Friday that I was a new voting member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, and the first film that I saw it was Saturday morning. The next day it was in a private screening room because, you know, we had the privilege of, you know, we don’t have to watch movies with the gen pop. You know, we get to be one of one one of two. There were three of us in the screening room in Beverly Hills, and the first film that I was able to screen was the Harder They Fall Netflix film, which all Black cast and just some really dynamic talent. You know, Idris Elba. Regina King Black director, Black producer, Black writer. And I remember sitting there as the film was starting up, and if you remember that film opens where it says these people existed, I was like, Holy shit, I get to have a vote in one of the most powerful award shows in the world. I get to have a voice, and that just really kind of overwhelmed me in that moment, you know? And I thought that was so, so special to me, and I was just really excited. And I know everyone is using this phrase, understood the assignment, but I really understood the assignment in that moment. A lot of times I will see films, and I spent a lot of time on television prognosticating how voters are going to vote and what they’re going to do and what they pay attention to. And to be one of those voters that I’ve spent the last two decades talking about, it just felt really powerful and special. Like, I knew what I was doing and I knew what it meant, you know, and I didn’t feel like I was just voting for myself. I felt like I was voting for you and for a lot of friends in our group chat. I felt like I was representing, you know, so many of us and the lens with which we view cinema and television. And it was a little bit emotional, I think, too for me, especially because, you know, that was my first real introduction into covering Hollywood and to all these years later, be able to have a vote and, you know, a voice. And that felt good. And even when the nominations came out, because, you know, we don’t know who the who the nominees are, just like, I don’t know who is going to win a Golden Globe until everyone else knows. But when those nominations came out, I felt like I could see my votes, you know? And I love that I could see my votes. [00:37:02][153.1]

Cortney Wills: [00:37:03] Absolutely. Kelley, thank you so much for your time and your candor today, and thanks for stepping up to this plate and doing it for all of us Black entertainment journalists, I’m so excited to see what’s next, and thanks for joining me. (Thanks for having me.) See you later. Thank you for listening to Acting Up. If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review and subscribe to the show wherever you listen to your podcast and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, comments and suggestions to podcasts@theGrio.com. Acting Up is brought to you by the Grio and executive produced by Cortney Wills and produced by Cameron Blackwell. For more with me and Acting Up, check us out on Instagram @Acting Up.Pod. [00:37:03][0.0]

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