HOLLYWOOD, California—A planned protest over the lack of diversity in the film industry by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) has been canceled. The group will instead seek direct dialogue with Hollywood’s central authority, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The protest was set to take place outside of the 87th annual Academy Awards at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater. NAN’s political director for the Los Angeles chapter Najee Ali broke the information to Breitbart News in an email:
Upon the request of SELMA director Ava DuVernay, The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network has agreed to forgo our planned protests of the Oscars today and pursue instead a direct dialogue with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences via Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Dawn Hudson. We continue to be fervent in our mission for expansion and inclusion within the Academy and the motion picture industry as a whole. We salute all the artists being celebrated today at the Oscars while demanding an examination of the sidelining and underrepresentation of artists of color and women artists. Art can change the world and the world is more diverse than this year’s honorees. Addressing that disconnect is vital and necessary and will be done.
News of the initial protest had been reported last week. At least two other groups were also slated to protest what is largely seen as the most anticipated Hollywood awards ceremony of the year. The two other groups are the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable which is spearheaded by Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Najee Ali said the goal of “our civil rights organization is simply asking for more inclusiveness and more diversity within the Academy itself. They have a 94% membership that are all white; 77% are male. So the issue is about diversity, not whether one film is better than another.”
When asked by Breitbart News what he hoped to achieve by doing this, he said he believed opening a dialogue within the Academy itself would “create more opportunities for people of color and for women.” As for President Barack Obama’s contribution to helping African-American lives during his presidential tenure so far? “Obama’s done an excellent job when it comes to helping black America. He’s responsible for Obamacare.”
Selma, a film which depicts the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through Hollywood’s lens, is nominated for Best Picture.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.