Natalia Pineapple / The Journal
Wednesday, 03 June 2020 | 18:20
Hollywood was not always inclusive. For years, actors, african americans did not have a worthy place on the big screen, and their roles were limited to characters of the easement, pimps, prostitutes or criminals. There was No more option.
Imagine this scenario in the present is difficult, but necessary. The fight against racial discrimination still does not cease and, in the middle of protests over the death of George Floyd, it is crucial to remember the battles of people of african descent in every field, including the cinematography.
Although things have changed radically since I do not want to allow entry to the Academy awards from 1939 to Hattie McDaniel (the first african-american woman to win an Oscar award) because of their skin color, in the last two decades there have been many performers who have had to challenge injustice to make a place in Hollywood and open the way to their peers.
The decade of change
When McDaniel won the golden statuette in the category of Best supporting Actress, was performing a role of servitude in the movie ‘What the wind’ and it took 24 years for another african-american to win an Oscar (Sidney Poitier in 1963).
The real change in the industry occurred in the decade of the nineties, when actors like Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Will Smith became the protagonists of the productions popular, such as ‘Se7en’, ‘Malcolm X’ and ‘Two policemen rebels’.
In the case of actresses, Hollywood took a decade longer to develop a social conscience.
The new millennium
It was until 2001, when figures are so important in the contemporary film as Denzel Washington and Halle Berry made history. He became the second african american man to win the statuette in the category of Best Actor (he had already won in 1989 for Best supporting Actor) and she is the first woman to win in the Best Actress.
During his speech, both expressed their gratitude to the interpreters of previous generations who had struggled against prejudice.
This gave way to stars such as Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Octavia Spencer and Lupita’nyong or got the recognition they deserved within Hollywood for his work, regardless of their skin color. However, and despite the progress within this struggle, in 2016, CNN published some data are very significant: from 1990 and until that date, had been nominated for awards 15 actors, african americans in front of 120 white and six actresses in front of 129. Until today, among thousands of statuettes presented in 92 ceremonies of the Oscars, are less than 50 african americans who have obtained one.
Despite the fact that several celebrities are african american, including Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Jordan Peele, Spike Lee and Regina King, have been delivered to the audiences great performances inside and outside of the large screen, video streaming, and television, there is still much to be done.
Winners of the academy awards
Since the first awards ceremony in 1929, and after more than three thousand statuettes presented, only these actors, musicians, producers and directors african americans have gained a prize Oscar.
– Hattie McDaniel (1939)
– Sidney Poitier (1963)
– Isaac Hayes (1971)
– Louis Gossett Jr. (1982)
– Irene Cara (1983)
– Prince (1984)
– Stevie Wonder (1984)
– Lionel Richie (1985)
– Herbie Hancock (1986)
– Willie D. Burton (1988 and 2006)
– Denzel Washington (in 1989 and 2001)
– Russell Williams (1989 and 1990)
– Whoopi Goldberg (1990)
– Cuba Gooding Jr. (1996)
– Halle Berry (2001)
– Jamie Foxx (2004)
– Morgan Freeman (2004)
– Frayser Boy, Juicy J and DJ Paul (2005)
– Forest Whitaker (2006)
– Jennifer Hudson (2006)
– Geoffrey Fletcher (2009)
– Mo Nique (2009)
– Roger Ross Williams (2009)
– Octavia Spencer (2011)
– T. J. Martin (2012)
– Octavia Spencer (2012)
– John Ridley (2013)
– Lupita’nyong or (2013)
– Steve McQueen (2013)
– Common and John Legend (2014)
– Barry Jenkins, and Tarell Alvin McCraney (2016)
– Ezra Edelman (2016)
– Mahershala Ali (in 2016 and 2019)
– Viola Davis (2016)
– Jordan Peele (2017)
– Kobe Bryant (2017)
– Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee (2018)
– Hannah Beachler (2018)
– Peter Ramsey (2018)
– Regina King (2018)
– Ruth E. Carter (2018)
– Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (2019)
The power of stories
Movies, documentaries and series have great power and are a very useful tool to learn and know the facts that changed the history of our society.
Here is a list of productions available in streaming that can help to generate a change in social consciousness.
On Amazon Prime Video
‘If the colony were to speak’ (2017)
‘Fruitvale Station’ (2013)
‘Looking For Justice’ (2019)
‘Thus we see’ (2019)
‘Strong Island’ (2017)
‘Amendment XIII’ (2016)
‘Let’s flee!’ (2017)
‘Seven Seconds’ (2018)
‘THE 92’ (2017)
‘What happened, miss Simone?’ (2015)
‘The death and life of Marsha P. Johnson’ (2017)
’12 years of slavery’ (2013)