Chris Rock missed the big picture

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night because as a black woman in the industry I was disappointed in the lack of diversity in nominations so I didn’t want to support the program. Through Twitter I was able to get the gist of the winners, fashion and Leonardo DiCaprio’s big win.

I read a transcript of Chris Rock’s opening monologue which people suspected would take on the lack of diversity head on. Rock “rocked” it. His jokes were relevant, on point and scorching.

Unfortunately Rock made the lack of diversity strictly about the lack of acting roles for black performers. As a black performer it may be the issue in the forefront of his mind but as a person speaking to the lack of diversity in an industry (in front of the industry) I wish he’d been more inclusive.

One of the ideas that has been introduced since the nominations is that not only black performers and films were ignored but actors, directors and technicians of any color were ignored as well. The lack of diversity behind the scenes in Hollywood has been the subject of ongoing conversation. This dialectic would have benefited from an international platform like the Oscars.

I post articles on LinkedIn related to using improvisation for professional development. I wrote about Chris Rock today.

If Chris Rock were the CEO of a company his attempt to address the lack of diversity would have failed because he left people out. If Rock had been listening to the cultural conversation over the past few months he would have understood that his singular view was not enough.

Granted Chris Rock is not the CEO of a company but he had the entire world as his audience and he missed an opportunity to move the conversation about race beyond black and white. He had the chance to challenge the perception of how diversity needs to be addressed.

Matt Damon got into trouble this year when he interrupted Effie Brown a black director with this:

“When we’re talking about diversity you do it in the casting of the film not in the casting of the show.”

Damon is referencing the casting of the filmmakers (directors) for his show Project Greenlight. His ignorance is not isolated.

Chris Rock barely scratched the surface of the problem by solely concentrating on black actors. The producers of the Oscar Telecast were David Hill and Reginald Hudlin. Hill is White, Hudlin is Black.

I wonder what the demographic of the writing staff, technical team, backstage crew and other behind the scenes support was. It takes a diverse community to create diversity.

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