One tweet can change the world.
Just ask April Reign, an editor for theater website Broadway Black and a diehard movie goer who changed the game when her hashtag #OscarsSoWhite went viral. Her original clever tweet “OscarsSoWhite It Asked To Touch My Hair,” sparked a national conversation about the 2016 Oscars Awards’ glaring lack of diversity despite a wealth of Black films that were released that season.
#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 15, 2015
In an exclusive interview with VH1, April says the impact of #OscarsSoWhite was a slow build that lead to a much needed discussion. “Social media provided a really nice vehicle to put these three words together so that people around the world could understand the issue and galvanize it for a lot of people.”
As it turns out, a year can make a world of difference. The 2017 Oscars winners included a diverse array of films and talent – namely with the film Moonlight winning Best Picture. But April says it’ll be some time before we see real change because the demographics of the Academy voters are still quite homogeneous: 89% are white, 63% are male and the average age of voters is 60+.
Contrary to popular belief, April says #OscarsSoWhite isn’t just about opening doors for Black actors and filmmakers. “Why have we never had a rom-com starring two people from the LGBTQ QIA community? Why have we never had a disabled actor or actress playing a super hero, whether they’re disabled or not? Those are the questions #OscarsSoWhite gets to.”
Clearly, there’s a lot more work to do when it comes to inclusiveness in Hollywood. Check out April’s full interview.