'Young, Gifted and Black' Actors Struggle in Hollywood, Says Chadwick Boseman

Ryan Coogler’s film “Black Panther” won a SAG award Sunday night for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and Chadwick Boseman’s impromptu speech has gone viral on social media. He delivered a message that presented the reality of the spaces Blacks don’t occupy in Hollywood.


“To be young, gifted and Black, we all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted and Black,” Boseman said.

“Black Panther” has received seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. In the last decade, the SAG ensemble winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture, half of the time.

In the Academy’s 88-year history, only 38 Oscars have been given to Black actors and actresses out of over 3,000 presented.

Six Black directors have received Oscar nominations in the Academy’s history but so far, no Black filmmaker has won in that category.

Following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, a “diversity initiative” was put in place pledging in 2016 to diversify its membership by 2020, adding additional Governor’s seats and reducing the lifetime voting status to 10 years.

In 2018, the Academy boasted that 38 percent of the Oscars’ governing body’s new class is made up of people of color. That only increased representation from 13 percent in 2017 to 16 percent.

It still remains largely white and male (only seven actors of color out of 51 are governors; zero people of color are officers).

In 2017, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black and only third woman president of the Academy, decided to leave its board and she did not seek re-election, short of the goal to double the diversity in membership. She was replaced by a white man, John Bailey.

According to UCLA’s ” Hollywood Diversity Report,” people of color accounted for the majority of ticket sales for five of the top 10 films in 2016 (ranked by global box office).

Boseman said Black actors are rarely featured in dynamic ways in Hollywood. This lack of representation inspired the cast to go to work everyday to give the world something special.”

That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see,” he said.

Coogler, the first Black director in Marvel’s blockbuster film realm, was given $200 million to make a movie set in Africa with a predominantly Black cast.

And the film proved studio executive naysayers at the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers wrong about Black films not being successful, making a over $1 billion globally.

The actors celebrated the accomplishment on social media:

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