Absence of color on the minds of Hampton U. Oscars watchers

By Malik Jones

The room buzzed Sunday. While the celebrated stars in Hollywood sat pretty in their glitz and glam, it's just another day at the office for Professor April Woodard and her diligent Media Brew team, who hosted the Oscar watch party event in the Scripps Howard School auditorium.

A few of the Media Brew students dressed elegantly in the spirit of the awards show event, including Chrissy Powell (pictured right).

But before the show got started, some of the students expressed their views on the biggest night in Hollywood.

Paris Rainey, a senior public relations major from Atlanta, presented somber and not-so-surprising facts about the current world of motion pictures and played a video from the Huffington Post highlighting diversity within the Academy.

The video pointed out that this year's Oscars would be the worst for diversity since 1998. It was also revealed that since the first Oscars in 1929, only "7 percent of winners in the Best Actor category have been black Men" and Halle Berry was the first, and so far only, African-American woman to win the Best Actress Award.

"Black actors and directors are only celebrated to an extent. But they are mostly underrated" said Rainey, who like many others was surprised and very much upset at Ava DuVernay's best director snub for "Selma."

[Du Vernay was not nominated, yet "Selma" was among eight best picture contenders. "Selma" did win the best song Oscar for "Glory."]

Rainey said more black representation is needed within the Academy. However, she added, this representation can only happen if more African Americans become interested in the film industry and work hard to earn membership into the Academy.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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