After facing tons of backlash for excluding actors and actresses of color in this year’s Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to consider implementing new rules. They are planning to make changes in an effort to diversify their board and nominations in the future. According to reports, the Academy’s Board of Governors, which has 51 members, made the issue a top priority during a recent meeting. They are considering increasing the number of nominees in certain categories and changing the protocol for inviting new members by allowing people to express interest in getting involved, rather than being asked. Earlier this week, said the organization will be taking “dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.” She also said she was “heartbroken and frustrated by the lack of inclusion.” Director Spike Lee, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, and others have vowed to boycott the awards ceremony. Read more.
Investigation Shows Taxi Discrimination at LAX
If you’re a person of color, hailing a cab in New York can sometimes be a struggle; just ask Al Roker. Now, an investigation surrounding taxi discrimination in Los Angeles showed that African-American people on the West Coast are experiencing the same issue. Los Angeles World Airports sent Black officers dressed in regular clothes to LAX to see if they would be denied service by taxi drivers. “It was worse than we expected. It was shocking. It was five out of 25 of the attempts to get a cab were denied, which is just so unacceptable in this day and age,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in a statement. The results from the investigation were shared earlier this week with the City Council’s Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce and Trade Committee, which runs the airport. “In looking at the complaint records, we also noticed there were a lot of complaints concerning refusal of service. If we confirm there is refusal of service for discrimination, it’s immediate revocation. We have zero tolerance for that,” said Marisa Katnich, Los Angeles World Airports’ director of landside business management. Read more.
Smithsonian’s African-American Museum Receives $10M Donation
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. recently received a major donation. Philanthropist David M. Rubenstein gifted the institution $10 million. The museum, which is slated to open its doors in September, will capture the essence of the Black experience in America. Aside from the $10 million donation, Rubenstein is lending the museum copies of the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation, both signed by former president Abraham Lincoln. Rubenstein has donated $44.7 million to the Smithsonian throughout the years. The National Museum of African-American History and Culture has now raised $252 million. Read more.
Shonda Rhimes and Common Team Up for Documentary About Racial Inequality
From the Oscars excluding Black actors to other racially charged incidents happening across our country, racial injustice has been pushed to the forefront of a national conversation. Now, a new documentary will delve deeper into the issue. The EPIX film, titled America Divided, will be executive produced by Norman Lear, Common, and Shonda Rhimes. The project will explore how inequality is intertwined with the personal histories of celebrities. Rapper Common will return to his birthplace of Chicago to examine the inequalities within the criminal justice system; actress America Ferrera will go to Texas to take a closer look at the voting system and the lack of efficient healthcare for women, and actor Jesse Williams will explore deficiencies in the realm of education. “The promise of the American dream was a united country where everyone is treated equal,” said Shonda Rhimes. “That promise has clearly been broken; all you have to do is look around to see that our reality has been built on the back of inequality. It’s my hope that this series will inspire audiences to be part of a change that leads us into a stronger, more equal future.” Read more.
VIDEO SOURCE: Inform