During Oscar’s weekend, Reebok partnered with Ava DuVernay’s media company and film collective, ARRAY to host a celebration dedicated to the influential role of creative women in film during Oscar weekend. Throughout the day hundreds of people came to ARRAY’s Creative Campus for free screenings of female-directed films such as Honey Boy, Late Night, Queen & Slim and The Farewell.

The event entitled, ‘IT’S A MAN’S WORLD: A Celebration Of Women In Film‘ was created in response to the on-going award season debate as celebrities and industry insiders continue to raise a concern with the continued lack of female representation and recognition in Hollywood.

Industry VIPs and Hollywood icons such as Vondie Curtis-Hall, Ryan Michelle Bathe and Mixed-ish star, Arika Himmel were all in attendance to tackle important questions and concerns as to how women will break barriers to create a more level playing field in Hollywood and beyond. 

Ava DuVernay kicked off the evening’s panel by explaining that this event was for those who were excluded from the conversation. “We can’t be disparaging black women. We can’t be threatening black women. We can’t be tearing each other down. We can disagree with each other, and still lift each other up.” The panel was moderated by Teen Vogue’s Director of Culture and Entertainment, Dani Kwateng-Clark, joined by panelists such as Pose Star, MJ Rodriguez, Harriet Director, Kasi Lemmons, “The Photograph Director, Stella Meghie and Late Night Director, Nisha Ganatra. The women discussed everything from call-out culture, making a difference in today’s society and what motivates Hollywood and the film industry. 

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Stella Meghie explained that this the first year that she had no interest in watching the Oscars.“I made my first film in 2016, which was the first year of #OscarsSoWhite, and now it’s four years later, and it’s still bad. We have to figure out whose opinion we value now.” Although the Academy is under attack for its lack of female representation and recognition, Nisha Ganatra believes that they have made a big change, however, it could be the industry. “They heard the criticism, acted, and a lot of women of color, a lot of people of color, and a record number of women directors got into The Academy this year. So when everyone is targeting that The Academy is the problem, we need to take a step back and recognize that it’s the industry.”

As for what can be done today, MJ Rodriguez that she was taught to always scratch the surface. “I don’t think it’s specifically critical, because anything can constantly change, but I think we have to constantly keep scratching the surface by getting back to what we love to do and not caring what other people say.” 

It is only right that the When They See Us director collaborate with Reebok as the iconic athleisure brand aspires to be an influential platform for women who manifest true change in the world, dating back to the creation of the first fitness sneaker for active women in the ‘80s with Freestyle High. Today, as cultural and gender stereotypes remain at the forefront of societal discourse, Reebok continues to drive awareness around gender equality through its IT’S A MAN’S WORLD campaign and sneaker collaborations by celebrating female trailblazers.