With the need for more inclusion and diversity in the entertainment and news industry, it’s no surprise people of color are working hard to implement more representation. Not only are they doing so to pave the way for future generations, but also to be recognized for their creative ideas and work in the field.
In January 2015, April Reign created the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite on Twitter after the nominees for the Academy Awards lacked diversity. All twenty actors nominated for the best lead and supporting acting categories were white. The hashtag went viral and inspired a fight for more diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.
Historically, there’s only been one black nominee to win an Oscar for Best Actress and that was Halle Berry, back in 2002. Only four men of color have won Best Actor.
Three years later, April has announced the launch of Akuarel, a multicultural media directory. Industry representatives (studios, media, networks) have the ability to search the database for diverse talent working both in front of and behind the camera, and creatives can register themselves in the listings – whether that be for acting, producing, screenwriting, journalism, etc. They can also self-identify with their race, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, location, and experience.
#Akuarel provides the solution: a centralized directory in which those who work on both sides of the camera or curtain and those who hold a pen, a computer, or a microphone can self-identify in the same #OscarsSoWhite categories: race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. pic.twitter.com/FJEqMcGfdQ
— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
“It’s clear from the response that this is a resource that was needed… People were waiting to be seen.”
– April Reign
April tells Huffington Post that Akuarel
“allows creatives and journalists to self-identify in various categories, and allows studios, networks and media outlets to search those categories and find talented individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities.”
This directory will be offered at no cost to creatives, while industry professionals must pay a yet-to-be-determined subscription fee.
April’s directory is a brilliant idea in her fight, along with many others, to change the way Hollywood has narrowly selected who they want to work with.
With Akuarel, there will be no excuse for not finding someone from a marginalized community to play the parts in movies they’re meant to play. Hollywood has long been white-washing roles, which denies talent, doesn’t mirror our heterogeneous culture and supresses progress.