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Feb. 24, 2019

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Kevin Hart’s exit (stage left) as host of the Oscars started the year on a sour note. His since deleted tweets, which go back to 2009, were peppered with anti-LGBTQ language that seemed very unfunny in 2019. After the outcry, Hart defended himself, arguing that people grow and change. But the truth is that what he said wasn’t funny in 2009, and it is even less funny now. The Oscars will go hostless for the first time in thirty years.

There’s an argument to be made for taking into account the historical context of a comment, a book, an awards show, or even a thought. In a series of articles, National Geographic recently confronted  its racist history of portraying nonwhite people in their magazine.  

The Oscar committee likely took representation into account when they asked Hart to host—only five of their seventy-six hosts have been African American—but, given his tweets, it seems like they never considered what his position as host would mean to the LGBTQ community.

The film world has many historical and current examples of unequal representation. Pale skin and hetero relationships, for example, have tended to dominate many rom coms, and particularly those in the holiday movie genre. Things are finally changing.  Sandra Oh co-hosted the Golden Globes this year and the success of Crazy Rich Asians has shown audiences that diverse casts—and stories—can resonate with many communities.

Sure, we’d all be smart to simply avoid generalizations about cultures or communities (an easy way to avoid a future tweet you must delete), but let’s recognize that change is happening and keep the conversation going—on every platform.

Angela Misri
Digital Director
The Walrus
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  In Other Words  

FILM

Crazy Rich Asians is Not About Race

BY DORETTA LAU
Everyone is talking about the cast’s diversity. But the film’s social commentary goes far deeper
THE GUARDIAN

Hollywood diversity has improved, study shows

BY ANDREW PULVER
An increased number of people of colour and women in lead roles appeared in the 100 highest-grossing films of 2018
FILM

J.K. Rowling, Hollywood, and the Holocaust

BY NARA MONTEIRO

In an era where Auschwitz is fading from memory, what do fictional movies about the Nazis owe to fact?

THE WASHINGTON POST

Disabled actors say they’re the ‘last civil rights movement’ in Hollywood. Hardly anyone’s discussing it

BY TRAVIS M. ANDREWS

  (Un)makers and (Un)doers   

FILM

Movie Night in Tehran

BY MEHDI M. KASHANI
What it's like to love movies in a country where they’re banned

  Making a Point  

Support in social media for Yalitza Aparicio (the first indigenous Mexican best actress Oscar nominee) ramped up this week.

  Follow Them  

The Bollywood Project

Hosts Hani and Uzma are two self-described "brown girls living in the diaspora who love anything to do with Hindi films."

The two discuss everything from the latest Bollywood gossip to feminism on the screen to song reviews.

Bad Gay Movies Ep 99: Oscar Special

You have to love these hilarious hosts who take on TV shows, books and movies that try and represent LGBTQ characters. The Oscar preview episode features NOW magazine's Glenn Sumi.

  Take Note  

Take Note is the section of The 49% newsletter where we share something we've learned from the wider community.

Ontario Creates (an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport) conducted a study in 2017 looking for ways to improve diversity in the interactive digital industry. Some of their findings and toolkits are useful in other initiatives.
Top Tips from Ontario Creates' Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit:
 
//04 Training
Attend workshops on unconcious bias, diversity and inclusion strategies, inclusive workplaces, communications skills and managing talent.
 
//11 Community outreach
Develop ongoing relationships with underserved communities so that over time they will see your company and your sector as realistic opportunities.
 
//12 Inclusion
It's not enough to hire for diversity. Your studio must also be inclusive. If it is inclusive then you will attract a wide variety of talent and they will stay. Monitor advancement and retention to see if staff from particular communities are not advancing at the same rate as others or are leaving the company at a a higher rate as this may indicate inclusion issues.
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