Academy Schmademy

When 2015 made its debut less than a month ago I was quite excited for several new projects.  One I can share with you now is a new writing assignment I have with NBCBLK.  The new vertical for NBC News, with managing editor Amber Payne, is described as elevating America's conversation about black identity, politics & culture. I was thrilled to help launch its debut with an article on Ava DuVernay. This talented, dedicated and generous film professional has been thrown into the spotlight for all of the same reasons featured in the screenplay of her directorial achievement Selma set in 1965. She and the we’re-so-over-the-lack-of-diversity Oscar nominations have the civil rights conversation in the news again. What I hope DuVernay and those who appreciate the art of film realize is that the reason her name brings up such a heated dialogue about race is because she did an excellent job directing a now Oscar-nominated film.  In the history of the Academy, there have only been two films nominated by African American female directors:  Selma for best feature and Tuesday Morning Ride by Dianne Houston for best short film (live action). Hollywood seems to think we still need time to become the best. Since the days of Oscar Micheaux in the early 20th century, and, for women, the days of Alice Guy-Blaché in the late 19th century, we’ve always been there, guys.  Our excellence in filmmaking covers all categories.  No Academy Awards for us? Alrighty, then.  It’s not our fault you’re diminishing the value of the Oscar you hold so dear.