Just read The Washington Post’s report on how Joaquin Phoenix used his acceptance speech at the BAFTA awards in London Sunday to call for more a inclusive in the media industry and be more attentive to the systemic racism that still exists. It’s an issue that seems to be getting more traction in the entertainment industry, but we all know that there is a very long way to go, including in the media journalism industry. In fact that lack of prominent reporting on his speech on many outlets speaks volumes to how far we have to go. The real problem isn’t simply “giving” nominations to people of color (although talent such as Denzel Washington never being nominated for a BAFTA is shameful), but it’s about allowing talent to receive the same funding and support during the process equally. As with any industry, having diverse perspectives always leads to higher quality and more innovative projects across the board.
“I feel very honored and privileged to be here tonight, and the BAFTAs have always been very supportive of my career, and I’m deeply appreciative,” Phoenix began. “But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my favorite actors who are deserving don’t have the same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from. I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think people want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.”