The creator of the now ubiquitous and symbolic hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, has launched a new initiative to help Hollywood find and hire creatives of color.
The driving force behind #OscarsSoWhite was the very real need to “increase diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry,” Reign tweeted, and her new project, Akuarel, provides a solution. It will be a “centralized directory” for those who identify in an #OscarsSoWhite category (race, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) to find opportunities within the entertainment industry. Now, no studio, executive, director, or other entertainment employer can use the excuse that they wanted to employ a person of color but just couldn’t find one.
Ahem. Is this thing on? Because on the first day of Women’s History Month, in the year of our Lord Bast, my dream is coming true. Walk with me. pic.twitter.com/43bdFMPeiL— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
In January 2015, I created #OscarsSoWhite, a clarion call to increase diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. We have seen some progress, but there’s much more work to be done. I’ve talked about the problem for 3 years. It’s time for a solution. Meet Akuarel™️. pic.twitter.com/OJGnb08Owk— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
#Akuarel provides the solution: a centralized directory in which those who work on both sides of the camera or curtain and those who hold a pen, a computer, or a microphone can self-identify in the same #OscarsSoWhite categories: race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. pic.twitter.com/FJEqMcGfdQ— April (@ReignOfApril) March 1, 2018
Subscribers, which can be studios, networks, theater companies, and media outlets, can search by categories or cross-sections of these categories as well as other criteria in their search to find talented candidates. Creatives will also be able to search for jobs posted by news and entertainment outlets. As a result, Akuarel will be a free service that will benefit “both sides of the camera,” Reign tweeted, including journalists, actors, boom operators, directors, key grips, and freelance writers.
“Media diversity is not just a Hollywood problem,” Reign wrote on Twitter. “The negative societal impacts from the economic concentration, stifling of diverse voices, and perpetuation of divisive cultural narratives makes it a national problem that must be addressed.”
Akuarel already counts four high-profile partners: CBS Diversity, Comcast, the Motion Picture Association of America, and A+E Networks.
Whew, I'm reading this thread & tearing up. There will be literally 0 excuse to not hire us now. This is what "don't talk about it, be about it" looks like. Thank you, @ReignOfApril https://t.co/8M0ZLvvZ0x— Songs in the Key of Heaux Sharp (@BrittanyActs) March 1, 2018
Reign is the Senior Director of Marketing at Fractured Atlas, the nation’s largest non-profit arts service organization. She launched her new initiative just days ahead of the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, which will be held on March 4.