Year after year, The Hollywood Reporter’s annual actress roundtable has seen only white women on its cover page.
The magazine’s annual issue features prospective female Oscar competitors and best actress winners from previous years. Even though Halle Berry is the only non-white female to have won best actress so far, the real issue concerns the stark lack of diversity on the cover page of the magazine, as only white women occupy all the spots in the limelight.
After immense backlash from the public, THR editor Stephen Galloway tried to justify the act saying: “The awful truth is there are no minority actresses in genuine contention for an Oscar this year.” He therefore goes to blame the lack of creativity from the black community for this absence of diversity from the film industry.
However, not many people are falling for the explanation:
Hollywood Reporter: "we're only racists because everybody else is racist". So that's ok then... ?? https://t.co/srH9TMM6fh— Johnny Ikon (@JohnnyIkon) November 19, 2015
.@THR So you only include white women at your actress roundtable because they're the only ones being "seriously considered" for an Oscar.— Camryn Garrett (@dancingofpens) November 19, 2015
why does the hollywood reporter think it can make an all white actress round table and no one will say anything like?— maddy (@icekewb_) November 19, 2015
This whole episode not only says a lot about having people of color on the cover of a magazine but also speaks volumes about the Hollywood film industry in itself. Part of Viola Davis’ Emmy acceptance speech explained the issue very well, where she said: “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”
Most TV shows and movies produced today either revolve around the lives of white people, or simply are constructed around a time where producers pretend like people of color didn’t exist — making the process of keeping them out of the equation much easier.
However, it is not rocket science to figure out that the Academy voters primarily rely on advertisements, buzz and publications to figure out who should win the awards every year, and thus not allowing people of color to appear in the limelight eventually leads them to not winning significant awards too.
It is indeed important to realize that simple decisions such as who should appear on a live show, in a game show, on the cover of a magazine or in a product advertisement eventually helps determine the winners of the Oscars, and thus such selections should be made very carefully.
Magazine editors need to check their unintentional and subconscious biases. Multiple people of diverse backgrounds should weigh in on and approve cover images for magazines and guests on for TV shows. Having a selection team comprising of people from different backgrounds helps ensure that celebrities put into the limelight actually deserve to be there for traits other than the color of their skin.