"We are not the fringe," said the screenwriter. "We are not genre. We are the mainstream."
As a guest columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, John Ridley shared his views on the Academy's response to the controversy that surrounds the forthcoming 88th annual awards show.
"'Diversity' is at best a decent notion that compels those with authority to occasionally sprinkle "others"—women, and people of color—across the visible landscape," the 12 Years a Slave screenwriter wrote.
Accolades for artists of color, Ridley said, is not a reflection that they aren't making outstanding bodies of work; it's the awards themselves that don't bestow the actors and actresses with the acknowledgement they deserve.
"The awards themselves are a lagging...They are, however, a firm arc in a vicious cycle where films from a prevailing frame of reference are created, lauded and replicated to the point they singularize any other perspective; they are considered specialty tales rather than popular fare."
Ridley won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2014 for his film adaptation of Solomon Northup, a born free African-American man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
To read Ridley's full commentary, click here.