While many Black stars in Hollywood have chosen to boycott tonight’s Academy Awards show to protest the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations, some are choosing to show up and send a different message to the Academy—Black voices will be heard.
During the Oscar’s opening ceremony, host Robin Roberts caught up with actress Kerry Washington on the red carpet and asked her about her decision to attend amidst the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and she was happy to explain.
“A lot of people have asked my why I’m here tonight,” said Washington. “And, the thing I’ve been thinking about is, if you look at the history of movements and the history of change, a lot of voices are needed at the table. So, I really expect and actually admire some of the people who are not here tonight. I really get it. But for me, I felt like my voice and my heart are best used at the table. As a new member of the academy—I joined the Academy about three years ago—I really want to be part of the conversation to make sure that there’s institutional change, so that we never have a year like this again, so that we can be as inclusive as possible.”
Roberts complemented Washington for a well-said answer, and Washington emphasized that they are her true feelings. “It’s how I feel,” Washington continued. “We need everybody’s feelings; we need all of those voices at the table.”
Roberts cosigned the importance of including everyone in the conversation, and Washington added, “It’s about women. It’s about people of color. It’s about age. It’s about making sure that our films and the awards that we give for films represent humanity.”