When the American Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, nominated no black actors or actresses in 2015, the African American journalist April Reign responded by creating #OscarsSoWhite, which instantly became the top trending Twitter hashtag in the United States. The killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, among far too many others, were powerful catalysts of the ensuing debates. Many critical tweets about the Oscars referenced police violence and inserted #BlackLivesMatter next to #OscarsSoWhite. While racial diversity in popular cinema is an important issue in its own right, the problems at stake in the critique of the white Oscars were clearly bigger than Hollywood. #OscarsSoWhite ignited social media not only because it gave Black Twitter a platform to express anger over perceived snubs to films like Selma, the biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr., but also because it extended and amplified ongoing protests against racism in contemporary American society more broadly.
“After #OscarsSoWhite,” Medium, March 2, 2018