Spike Lee shed some light on the workforce diversity during his acceptance speech saying that Hollywood should start getting smart about their choices in hiring.
Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland bore witness to this year’s 7th annual Governors Awards. Like every year, the directors and actors and the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathered for a night of well-mannered frivolity.
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They honored the people that had made a difference in Hollywood and the world with their elaborate body of work.
This year, the She's Gotta Have It director Spike Lee was honored with an honorary award. Spike’s introductory segment kicked off with Aloe Black singing Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come," which Lee used in his 1992 biopic Malcolm X, starring Denzel Washington.
Veterans of Lee's movies; Washington appeared on stage alongside Wesley Snipes and Samuel L. Jackson. Riffing without any need for a teleprompter, the trio proved to be something of a modern-day Rat Pack, feeding each other good-natured jokes and even aiming a few barbs Lee's way.
Snipes retold a story about Governors Ball. Washington accentuated on a high note saying that Spike Lee has put more African-Americans to work in this business than anyone else in the history of the business.
Lee came up to accept his award and used the occasion to relate his own journey to become a filmmaker. He admitted that he was a poor student during his days at Morehouse College, he found his calling when he began studying film at New York University.
Lee took the rest of his time in the spotlight saying that he was witnessing a serious lack of diversity in Hollywood. He said that even with an African American president in Obama, there were barely any African American people in the offices.
He said that the industry’s backwardness compared to sports was ridiculous. It was time that they made better choices and flavored up the palate by adding more people from all ethnicities.
He said that in the years to come, the consensus says that Caucasian American will become a minority in the U.S. The industry has no definite numbers to represent that revolution. He said that it was easier to be the president of the country rather than the president of any studio or production house.
This was a perfect complimenting speech to Boone Isaacs’ initiative A2020. The president of the industry launched the initiative that aims to promote more diversity of age, gender, race, national origin and point-of-view, in Hollywood over the next five years.
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The other recipients of the evening were Gena Rowlands and Debbie Reynolds.