Published on February 25th, 2016 | by Dr. Jerry Doby

Live Session: Zendaya weighs in on Oscar diversity on The Angie Martinez Show

Oscar certainly has incensed quite a few folks around the entertainment industry and rightly so. To say film creators of color have not made significant or laudable contributions to the world of film and entertainment in general is simply not true by any means. In general people of color, not just Blacks, are fairly ignored in the greater scheme of things film, at least on major televised award shows. While film showcases like SXSW, Sundance, etc., welcome creators from across the globe, somehow the welcome is not ascending to more major platforms. The lack of Black nominees this year, has sparked scathing dialogue against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the 88th run of the Oscars prepares to air on February 28th.

An important note about the upcoming 88th Oscars is that, while there are a lack of Black nominees this year, two of the most important participants of the production are host Chris Rock and show co-producer Reginald Hudlin.

It’s not just the old hands speaking out, 19 year old American entertainer Zendaya, dropped by The Angie Martinez Show on New York’s Power 105.1 speaking with her on among other things, the Oscar diversity issue which has been a major conversation in the industry in recent times. She and Martinez both had comments on how this year’s Oscar host Chris Rock might handle the situation. Zendaya indicated that Rock has a massive platform and hopes he uses it.

Palestinian director Basil Khalil, whose short film Ave Maria is nominated for an Oscar this year, cautioned in an interview with Middle Eastern news portal Mondoweiss, that the Academy’s effort to diversify its membership could fall short of achieving the intended goals. “Civil rights are human rights, which every person deserves. I welcome the changes, but the Academy isn’t the only body in Hollywood. Change needs to start in the minds of individuals. New and inclusive policies are useless unless there are people willing to see it happen. The most patronizing thing for a minority is to be a ‘tick-box’ case,” said Khalil. “As a Palestinian who was brought up in Israel, I know all too well about discrimination. The solution starts from the bottom. Producers, agents, film executives need to hire a diverse range of actors in their films, production staff in their companies, and finance diverse films,” he continued. (D. Abusalim

Hudlin a celebrated filmmaker and Oscar Nominee is quoted in a September 1, 2015 article on, as saying he is “…looking forward to working with the Academy again,” “I love every kind of film and this year’s awards will be a celebration of total range of cinema.” (S. Dove

In a February 11, 2016 article for the Los Angeles Times, Hudlin is quoted as saying, ““For all of us here who are filmmakers, creators, [we know that] black product is always devalued,” said Reginald Hudlin, producer of this year’s Oscars ceremony. “It’s always seen as a piece of business, not a piece of art. So the importance of [black] film critics, of us being able to critique and respect our own work is really crucial.” (T. Anderson

Will you watch this year’s ceremony? I am, if only to see how much they let Chris Rock say before they cut his mic.

Video Interview Courtesy of iHeartMedia

Tags: , ,

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑