The list of the 2018 Oscar nominees finally signifies a tilt towards diversity. Hollywood seems to be poised for gender parity and racial diversity. From #OscarsSoWhite, we are now at #OscarsALittleLessWhite. At the 90th Academy Awards, Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele have both been nominated for Best Director - a category that has only seen four nominations for either a female or black director. But the woods are lovely, dark and deep and miles to go...you know how it goes.
The creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, former attorney-turned social media marketer, April Reign, in attempt to bolster this tilt has kickstarted a new initiative in partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America - a digital database that can help Hollywood hire creatives of colour - Akuarel.
Inspired by the French word, “Aquarelle,” - water-coloured pencils used by her childhood friend, the website went live on Friday.
Actors, creatives and media professionals of colour looking to work in film, television, or journalism can use the database for free. It is inclusive of the likes of journalists, actors, boom operators, directors, key grips, and freelance writers.
In January 2015, I created #OscarsSoWhite, a clarion call to increase diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. We have seen some progress, but there’s much more work to be done. I’ve talked about the problem for 3 years. It’s time for a solution. Meet Akuarel™️. pic.twitter.com/OJGnb08Owk— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
Studios, networks, theatre companies, and media outlets can subscribe to the network and search for relevant talent based on categories and cross-sections of criteria.
White actress Scarlett Johansson played the Japanese heroine Major in Ghost in the Shell and Tilda Swindon played the Tibetan character from the comics in Dr. Strange and Hollywood is still unable to find an Asian Princess Jasmine. Akuarel can offer solutions to this whitewashing.
One of #Akuarel’s goals: Develop viable recommendations for media diversity best practices that will increase the percentage of marginalized communities creating, owning, controlling and distributing entertainment and news content. #OscarsSoWhite pic.twitter.com/ov4QousB4q— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
The new digital initiative will ensure that Hollywood has no excuses for not hiring artists of colour.
The 90th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on March 4.
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