[Note: This was written a long while ago, but I somehow forgot to hit publish. 🙂 ]
The Hollywood Reporter squandered a critical opportunity to champion for inclusion when assembling stars for its annual “Round Table” feature story.
Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Carey Mulligan, Jane Fonda, Brie Larson, Helen Mirren and Charlotte Rampling, all white women, were selected to partake in discussion and to pose for the accompanying fashion spread.
The talking points ranged from being an outspoken voice in Hollywood to the slim probability of landing leading roles after a certain age.
Now to the magazine’s credit, invitations to this sisterhood circle are extended to those whose films have garnered the most critical praise from insiders.
Still, the visual of eight white actresses in a secret meeting where they essentially lamented about everything didn’t sit well with the majority of its readers.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 18, 2015
In fact, almost all of Twitter jumped in on the fight for diversity the second the teaser was blasted out.
Perhaps the publication had a minor lapse in accounting the breadth of its audience; maybe the writers simply didn’t expect for its Hollywood bubble to be infiltrated, or maybe it all boils down to pure laziness.
Editor Stephen Galloway penned an apologetic explanation for why they didn’t invite any Black, Asian, or Latina actresses to the tea party, which can be summarized in one line: “Zero actresses of color were in the Oscar conversation,” he wrote.
While that may be true, the conversation should be driven by critics who have the opportunity to preview and then review a plethora of films and not just ones with huge names attached.
Viola Davis, who no doubt should have been included, addressed this issue when she won her Best Actress Emmy. It appears that her speech has gone in one ear and out of the other.
It is up to journalists and the media to delve deeply into the broad spectrum of creative works that exist. Entertainment outlets like People, Us Weekly and THR ignore black celebrities until they are involved in some unbelievable scandal or they die and it really shouldn’t be that way.
Instead offering up a lousy, defensive explanation, THR should have left us all with a promise to do better next time.