This year’s Oscar nomination broke with tradition by being slightly more inclusive. After 87 years of being racist, and a couple of years of openly discussing their racism, the Academy put forth a slate of nominees that had a couple folks more racially representative of the America we live in. Jordan Peele kicked the party off right with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay for his social thriller Get Out.
Holding it down with black girl magic to spare, Dee Rees was nominated for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay for Mudbound, the first black woman to be nominated in this category. The same film that snagged Mary J. Blige a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Making a return to the Oscars as a nominee is Octavia Spenser for her role in Shape of Water.
In this corner for the fellas is Daniel Kaluuya was nominated for Best Actor for his tear-jerking role in Get Out.
These nominees got here through hard work and amazing artistry. Too often diversity selections are equated will being less than, only winning because they got a pity vote. These stars show us that black shines bright, and brings in box office bling.
Progress: yes! Perfection….well, we’re not even close. In an interview with CNN #Ocsarssowhite creator April Reign cautioned, “When we’re still at the point where we’re pointing out the ‘first’ whatever, there’s still a long ways to go.”
With all this black excellence, you’re right to get hype: you are witnessing the new black renaissance. Someday your children’s children will read about the days that black activists, artists, writers, and luminaries led a civil rights movement that toppled white supremacy. Your digital consciousness, which will most likely be kept in a small decorative box on the mantle, will tell them you remember the dark days of racism, and the light artists shone to help us see our way clear.