We Don’t Need White Award Shows to Celebrate Our Achievements

These were White award shows and still are

Photo: kalhh/Pixabay

When I woke up and saw the nominations for the Golden Globes, and the shutting out of almost all talent that wasn’t White, I was furious. Particularly as the nominations made no sense, but then again many of us are judging based on talent, not based on White comfort or White preferences. However, this awards show is White, just like the Oscars and the majority of awards shows here. Their origins, like most establishments praised for their longevity, means they existed and began at a time when Black people and people of color were not even considered to be a part of said establishment. As such, they are acting within their wheelhouse, so why am I shocked? It’s time we did more than look shocked that an organization that began to showcase White talent is still doing that.

If a lot of the people who vote for their nominees are White, and we acknowledge White people, often due to lack of experience or their own ingrained biases, are unable to engage with our works let alone connect with them then, whether they view our films or not, the end result will be the same. So why are we trying to be included when they lack the bandwidth to engage?

These award shows were not founded on inclusivity, or on equality. It had racism built-in, so why change something that isn’t working? In the year 2021, there should be no piece with headlines about the unprecedented amount of woman directors nominated in what is a continued whitewashing of cinema for the year prior. There should be no praise for this also because they continue to let White comfort dictate awards instead of talent. Another thing to bear in mind is how often does winning these awards truly benefit us. Black creatives—actors, actresses, directors, etc.—who have won these awards have pointed out that it did little to open doors and/or bridge the pay disparity between them and their White counterparts. As such, it’s past time we not only ignored but actively countered these award shows.

In actuality, tradition is used as a way to silence conversations surrounding abolishing these systems.

Perhaps, like prisons and police departments, we need to push toward ending these award shows so something that is inclusive in its foundation can replace it. It’s funny how innovation and coming up with better products is considered positive, yet changes in archaic systems like education or prison system or systems of governance are considered an assault on tradition and culture. As though tradition requires that we continue upholding systems of harm because it would be tragic to lose them. In actuality, tradition is used as a way to silence conversations surrounding abolishing these systems.

While some may look at the Golden Globes 78-year history and marvel at how it still exists and that “rich” history, I see a pretender. An organization that occasionally includes others outside of White men, to stay relevant enough to be talked about, but ultimately continues the tradition of White supremacy. Do we need recognition from groups like these?

Even if they do, how many more years should we wait for these award shows to actually include our works? More importantly why should we have to wait for their improvement — it’s been decades — instead of looking for or creating something else?

Rather than relying on groups rooted in White supremacy, why not create our own show, that takes place around the same time as the Golden Globes that actually focuses on talent and quality work. Even if we aren’t able to at this time, we can celebrate our talent instead of just condemning an awards show for doing their usual dance. Yes, the Golden Globes needs to go and the only way that’ll happen is if people stop watching and stop attending. This isn’t a, “shut them out till they learn,” but a “harm their bottom line till they’re gone” because they will not change. Even if they do, how many more years should we wait for these award shows to actually include our works? More importantly why should we have to wait for their improvement—it’s been decades—instead of looking for or creating something else?

Show some love

Rather than watching awards shows such as the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards, or any others, check out shows/films that came out last year and previously that uplift and celebrate Black actors, writers, directors. Uplift shows and films that celebrate diversity and experiences that are unique to us. We could collectively select a show/s during the awards and have a huge watch party that leads to those shows trending on social media rather than the awards.

It’s clear they won’t change and our talented, amazing people deserve better than waiting for a group like that to recognize them.

If you have HBO Max check out Lovecraft Country created by Misha Green and starring Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Wunmi Mosaku, and Michael K. Williams if you love stories that take place in the past and have a more sci-fi, magic feel. Or dive into I May Destroy You created, written by, and starring Michaela Coel for some drama and comedy mixed together with British accents everywhere!

If you have Netflix there are a few movies that came out last year. Da 5 Bloods is about a group of Black men vets returning to Vietnam to find the remains of their leader and the gold that was buried and stars Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, and Chadwick Boseman to name a few. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also stars Chadwick Boseman alongside Viola Davis and Colman Domingo is about conflicts in a band while they’re in a recording studio in 1920s Chicago.

There are plenty more. These are just a few of the knockout performances and films/shows that were mostly or completely disregarded. The Golden Globes airs on Sunday, February 28, so why not plan an event online that focuses on the shows we loved that were beautifully crafted? Perhaps someone can help organize this to take place on that day so that we can make it clear we are not waiting on them anymore. It’s clear they won’t change and our talented, amazing people deserve better than waiting for a group like that to recognize them. We see each other! And collectively, we can do something about it!

Multi-ethnic creative non-binary. Spouts nonsense that occasionally makes sense. she/her/they/them

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