This year’s membership intake for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has reached a record number. According to Variety, the film entity invited 928 creatives within the industry to join its legion.
Given the number of invitees, Variety notes the representation of people of color jumped from 13 percent last year to 16 percent in the present time. This year’s class of invitees will bring the Academy’s membership roster to 9,226 if all were to say yes to the call.
A few of the entertainers include Kendrick Lamar for executive producing Black Panther‘s soundtrack and a song on Divergent; Tiffany Haddish for her roles in Girls Trip and Keanu; Trevante Rhodes for Moonlight and 12 Strong; and Jada Pinkett Smith for Girls Trip and Set It Off. The “Red Table Talk” host has been vocal about the Academy’s lack of diversity and that actors of color shouldn’t seek its approval through shiny hardware. In 2016, Pinkett-Smith said, “Begging for acknowledgment, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power – and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful. Let’s not forget it.”
In 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite movement began, created by editor April Reign. The hashtag brought awareness to the unbalanced racial makeup of the Academy’s representatives and who they choose to nominate for awards each year. Last year’s awards were seen as progress to some, with more people of color earning nominations in multiple categories. But Reign said the work wasn’t done yet.
“#OscarsSoWhite is very much alive and as relevant as when I created it,” Reign said in a January 2018 interview with The Los Angeles Times. “And until we are no longer lauding firsts after a 90-year history [of the film academy], until we can no longer count a traditionally underrepresented group’s number of nominations in a particular category on our fingers, there will be more work to do.”
View a list of some of the entertainers below.
Vanessa Bell Calloway
Jada Pinkett Smith
Michael K. Williams