After the public spotlight on race in the last two years, it’s nice to see some melanin in the Oscar winner lineup in 2017.
Just to be clear, I didn’t watch, but I see that Moonlight won Best Picture, Viola Davis won for Best Supporting actress and Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor (not only Black, but the first Muslim actor to do so). Not bad.
Once I watch the key moments I will be able to comment on at least some of the content of the evening. But for now, what I want to point out is this:
This could be a signal of change. Or it could be a signal of a reaction.
Who wins is the tip of the iceberg. The bigger questions happen when we move deeper. Who is nominated? Who is at the table making those decisions? Who is cast, and in what roles? Who is making movies about/including non-White lives and realities? Who is deciding what movies have value and get made?
These are some of bigger, more insidious questions we have started to ask and must continue to ask in order for 2017 not to be an anomaly or a mere knee-jerk reaction to the public outcry about the racial inequity of these awards.