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Making Hollywood more diverse and inclusive




Actress Jada Pinkett Smith released a video this week announcing her intention to boycott the Academy Awards.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith released a video this week announcing her intention to boycott the Academy Awards.
Jason Kempin

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Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and Director Spike Lee made headlines yesterday with their call for a boycott of the Oscar nominations.

In her video, Smith called for more investment and support for movies made by artists of color, calling it time to put resources "back into our communities, our programs." You can watch the video below.

Jada Pinkett Smith calls for an Oscar boycott

However, there are already some programs out there that focus on production, training and promotion of minority filmmakers.

Take Two spoke to two creators of these platforms: Numa Perrier, the co-founder of Black & Sexy TV and Ayuko Babu, the founder of the Pan African Film Festival. 

Perrier co-founded the subscription digital network Black & Sexy TV with her husband Dennis Dortch, a director and writer.  Last year, the T.V. channel BET picked up three of Black & Sexy TV's shows.

Perrier says because Smith is a celebrity, her call for an Oscar boycott helped it become an actual conversation – not just one on social media. But she says it can't be all talk and no action.

As for Babu, his Pan African Film Festival begins on February 5 and runs till February 15. The festival screens more than 100 films from around the world by minority filmmakers.

Babu says it's important for platforms like his to help Hollywood think broadly and prevent the institutional racism its always practiced. That being said, the Oscars matter?

"They matter but they don't matter," Babu says.

He says filmmakers of color are making things worthy of being nominated, and they're trying to get recognized in other avenues with or without the Oscars.

Perrier says the Academy Awards were created in a time of racism and bigotry, and are still steeped in those ideas. er channel wants to bring about change.

"If you have a membership and you have these guilds and you these academies that were created in racism and with racist ideas, they are still that way unless you do something radical to change that," she says.

To hear the full interview with Ayuko Babu and Numa Perrier, press the blue play button above.