#OscarsSoWhite Creator Launches Database of Black Talent to Help Diversify Hollywood

“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world.”

April Reign, the black activist and self-described “agitator” behind #NoConfederate and #OscarsSoWhite, is back with her latest business venture: an online database free of white people to insure Hollywood diversifies its casts.

The new website, Akuarel, a play on a French word for water-colored pencils, launches Friday. Reign says the site will help “marginalized communities” get work in Tinsel Town:

“This answers one of the issues raised by #OscarsSoWhite of studios saying, ‘We want to work with people from marginalized communities, but we just don’t know where to find them.’ This is going to drop them right in their lap.”

#OscarsSoWhite trended online around the 2016 Academy Awards as a way to criticize the categories overpopulated with white actors and films. Another complaint was how famous white actors are cast in roles of non-white characters, never mind choosing the best actor for the role, or the actor most likely to draw the most cash. Such was the case with Matt Damon in the 2016 film The Great Wall. As Mic.com put it, “Matt Damon played a 12th-century white guy who saves China from invading monsters.”

After watching the trailer for the film, Taiwanese-American actress Constance Wu complained:

“We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that [only a] white man can save the world.”

Akuarel works with “professionals of color” across several areas including media, television, and journalism. There is no cost to be listed in the database, but Hollywood studios will pay a fee to use the service. They can search the database for specific race, age, gender, and sexual orientation. 

Perhaps we’re not too many years away from the next hashtag activism: #OscarsSoBlack, #OscarsSoGay, #OscarsSoYoung, #OscarsSoOld, and maybe the best of all, #OscarsSoStupidNobodyWatchesAnymore.

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