How Did the Hashtag #OscarsSoWhite Become a Catalyst for Change?

April Reign’s OscarsSoWhite hashtag became a rallying cry for the shocking lack of diversity in the entertainment industry. I interviewed Reign on my #WomenToFollow show in December 2022

Rose Horowitz
4 min readMar 13, 2023

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By Rose Horowitz

“What inspires me the most right now is that there are filmmakers and actors and actresses who are saying we know that incremental change is going to take a while, and they’re creating their own production company,” Reign says.

“I think about Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, Will Smith & Jada Pinkett Smith, and so many others saying, ‘we are going to create the art that we want to see.’ We’re no longer to wait for a seat at the table. We’re going to build our own mansion and put our own table in it.”

I interviewed Reign for my #WomenToFollow livestream show in December 2022. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/live/ferbkJdbrHQ?feature=share

After writing many profiles as TwitterThreads and posting them on Medium, I launched my livestream show in July 2021.

For the 2023 Oscars broadcast on March 12, films with Black leaders and directors — “The Women King, “Till, and “Nope” have been shut out from nominations. The Golden Globes for 2022 announced in December shut out women from best director nominations for the first time in two years.

Indeed, Halle Berry remains the only Black woman to win an Oscar for actress in a leading role for her 2001 performance in “Monster’s Ball.”

Yet Reign points to opportunities for more diversity:

“With the advent of streaming services, I think what we’re seeing is the ability to get things green lit is slightly easier than only being able to go to the behemoths…the MGMs and the United Artists and so many others.”

More options means increased chances “for your project to actually be seen on a screen,” she says.

In a March 1, 2023 report examining the eight years before and after #OscarsSoWhite, the USC Annenberg Center study found 8 percent of nominees between 2008 and 2015 were from underrepresented racial…

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Rose Horowitz

Pulitzer-nominated Journalist. Founder & Host, #WomenToFollow https://bit.ly/2JwQWgV. Published: @nytimes @forbes