Spike Lee received an honorary Oscar this weekend and took the moment to address a major issue within the industry. Lee was among three special recipients at the Academy’s annual Governors Awards in Hollywood.
Towards the end of his speech, the Brooklyn native called for a change is Hollywood’s diversity deficit. He spoke in front of an audience that included Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy’s first black president.
“I want to commend Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs because she is trying to do something that needs to be done,” he said. “Not sure if you now this, but the US Census Bureau says by the year 2043, white Americans are going to be the minority in this country. People in positions of hiring, you better get smart. Your workforce should reflect what this country looks like.
“Everybody here probably voted for Obama! But in [Hollywood] offices, I see no black folks except for the man who’s the security guard who checks my name off the list as I got into the studio. So we can talk ‘Yabba yabba yabba,’ but we need to have a serious conversation about diversity and get some flavor up in this! It’s easier to be president of the United States as a black person than be the head of the studio or head of a network.
Earlier in the evening, Isaacs spoke on a plan to diversify the movie industry.
Watch Lee’s full speech below.
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