The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag has been around for quite some time, but this year, it was more than just a storyline for the Academy Awards. It defined the entire ceremony, and prompted Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to release a statement promising that her organization is not turning a blind eye or ear to inclusion issues. A few months later, The Academy added a Black man, former President of Entertainment at BET Reginald Hudlin, and a South Korean-born director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, to its Board of Governors in an effort to show how serious they were about diversity, and today an even more widespread effort has been revealed, involving much more recognizable Hollywood figures.
The Academy has invited over 680 new members, including Michael B. Jordan, Idris Elba and Ryan Coogler, three of the most prominent Black celebrities in Hollywood, to become members; Elba has accepted his invitation. The confirmed new members help raise the Academy’s persons of color percentage to 11% from 8%, and its female percentage two points, up to 27% from 25%.
Isaacs had this to say about the new developments.
We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy, and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership.
As more actors, actresses, directors, screenplay writers, and other prominent Hollywood figures accept their invitations, the percentages will fluctuate. Chances are, The Academy would like to see them fluctuate in favor of more inclusion.