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Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Partner With Sundance to Support Diverse Screenwriters from Underrepresented Communities


Featured Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When the Oscar nominations were announced in 2016, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag was formed to address the lack of diversity.

For the second year in a row, actors nominated in the lead and acting categories were white.

As noted by USA TODAY, BroadwayBlack.com managing editor April Reign created the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that went viral and caught the attention of celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smiith.

Spike Lee wrote: “We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect … But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches,” Lee wrote on Instagram. “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?!”

Upset about the results, Smith took to social media and uploaded a video stating that she would also boycott the awards show:

“Maybe it’s time that we pull back our resources…put them back into our communities [and make] programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit — and are just as good as the so-called mainstream ones.”

She then went on to say: “Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity [and] power.”

A year later, she is continuing the initiative to bring more diversity to film.

Through their family foundation and a two-year partnership, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith will be supporting Sundance’s Screenwriters Intensive Program.

As reported by Los Angeles Times, it’s a two-day for 10 screenwriters from underrepresented communities.

“We are honored and energized to collaborate with the Sundance Institute to cultivate stories and storytellers reflective of the world at large” – Jada Pinkett Smith

Applications for the Screenwriters Intensive Program will be available soon


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