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Academy invites 928 members to increase diversity

MEMBER: Noel Clarke

IN A bid to diversify The Arts and Sciences of Motion Pictures, over 900 new members have been invited to join its governing board.

The move, which is the highest on record after surpassing the 774 invitations issued in 2017, has welcomed leading names from across the industry.

British actor and director, Noel Clarke has been announced as a 2018 member. The 42-year-old has been critically acclaimed for his contributions to television and film, starring in the likes of the gritty London triology, Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood and and now venturing into television with his latest drama series Bulletproof.

Also among the UK talent is Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya, who received an Oscar nomination for his leading role in the mystery thriller, Get Out.

The Academy’s diversity push sees almost half of its newest artists and executives named as women. The likes of Girls Trip stars Tiffany Haddish and Jada Pinkett-Smith have been included to challenge the overwhelmingly white male industry.

According to the academy, if all 928 of the academy's invitations are to be accepted, the membership of women will rise from 28% from 31%, while ethnic minority members will increase from 13% from 16%.

In previous years, its criticism has been heavily fuelled by the social media movement #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag creator, April Reign tweeted the term in response to an all-white slate of acting nominees at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Speaking about the campaign, she said: “#OscarsSoWhite is about providing more opportunities for all marginalised communities based on gender, race, sexual orientation, differently abled, first nation status – it's for everyone that is traditionally underrepresented in the entertainment industry to have their stories told.”

In 2016, actor Chadwick Boseman said he was inspired to join the Academy because of the strength of the #OscarsSoWhite diversity campaign. "I felt obligated to join”, he said.

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