Last night’s Oscars ceremony took on special significance as a touchstone moment in the reckoning of our country’s history of racism.
There. Was that heavy enough? In the weeks leading up to the broadcast it certainly seemed at times as though the weight of the world hung on the shoulders of an awards show comprised of borrowed finery, publicity campaigns and countless other special effects. But in truth, the event as it occurred was somewhere in between a frolic and a court hearing on collective racial guilt. The entertainment world hasn’t changed overnight, but it’s unlikely that it will be quite the same when Oscar nominations are announced next year.
So how did the evening unfold? Here’s our roundup of top reads (and watches) to help you make sense of it all. Or not.
While the rest of us ogled gowns on the red carpet, Gene Demby used the Oscars pre-show to revisit the history of protests at the Academy Awards. It turns out that 2016 is far from the first time that a lily-white panel of nominees led to turmoil…but hopefully 1996 will stay the last time that an Oscars protest led to a blackface performance on SNL. (Here are Demby’s Oscars tweets, storified.)
We’re The LAMP, so it wouldn’t be right if this list didn’t include a remix that is a) fair use, b) a sharp social commentary on how to appeal to mainstream audiences and c) a fun way to play with media literacy basics.
I know it seems like a copout to list anything from the New York Times on a must-read list, but I had a hard time finding a single piece that hit on both the brilliant and the problematic in Chris Rock’s hosting. That routine was a little bit of everything.
It’s easy to forget that in the midst of all the grandstanding on Race in American Media, there are actual people having real-life experiences that are impacted by all that media. That’s where our own Zen Johnson comes in, with her piece on how an abstract concept like multi-faceted racial representation changed the way she grew up.