MTV Movie Awards Lack Diversity In Many Aspects Of The Ceremony & It's A Common Problem That Needs To End
Yes, I have to be that person. While the MTV Movie Awards hosted by Amy Schumer was a fun two hours for me — due largely to Schumer herself, whose comedic antics were almost enough to make up for the fact that Zac Efron was awarded the Best Shirtless Performance Award prior to the ceremony even starting — no award show is perfect. This ceremony , like most ceremonies, suffered from a diversity problem. The thing is, people of color weren't exactly numerous, either among the winners of the awards or among those actually involved in the ceremony. Among the over 15 categories, only two awards went to a person of color (Jennifer Lopez, Best Scared-As-S**t Performance, and Kevin Hart, Comedic Genius). And the faces that graced the stage, or the skits, at the ceremony were troublingly monochrome as well.
Those featured in the ceremony included the talented likes of Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara, Michael B. Jordan, Fetty Wap, Pete Wentz, Amber Rose, Kevin Hart, Tinashe, Ty Dolla Sign, and Dwayne Johnson, among others such as the amazing dancers, who helped open the show, and Kevin Hart's children, who accepted his award with him. The fact that I can make a short list of the people of color I saw during the ceremony, but would run out of breath (and paper) trying to list all of the Caucasian actors and performers that made the stage or were featured in a skit, says it all.
I know that the MTV Movie Awards are just a two hour ceremony — making them, you know, considerably shorter than most award shows. And, as always, I am not saying that people of color should be shoehorned into every ceremony to fill some sort of imaginary quota that would prevent people like me from writing essays like this.
Instead, in this particular case, I'm merely thoughtful. After all, there were countless people of color who came to the ceremony, who were seen on the red carpet or were even interviewed during the pre-show. The amount of people of color who attended the MTV Movie Awards compared to the amount of people of color who actually participated in the ceremony is so disproportionate that it gives me pause. Especially since, in some cases, it didn't have to be that way. When the exclusive clip from Pitch Perfect was presented to the audience, only Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, and Hailee Steinfeld appeared to present it. This is despite the fact that the main cast of Pitch Perfect includes actresses of color like Ester Dean and Hana Mae Lee.
When the cast of The Avengers showed up to present Robert Downey Jr. with the Generation Award, and to present the audience with an exclusive clip from Avengers: Age of Ultron , I couldn't help but notice that Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie were disappointingly absent. And while it was amazing to get to see Fetty Wap perform "Trap Queen" in front of such a huge audience, there's a big part of me that wishes Fall Out Boy and Fetty Wap had gotten their own, separate performances so that Fetty Wap didn't have to share the stage during his time to shine.
It's little things like that which stick with me after the final moment of the MTV Movie Awards has come to a close. When I count how many people of color took home an award, what I'm really asking is how many people of color were recognized for their achievements in film this year. When I keep track of how many people of color appeared on the stage during the ceremony, what I'm really asking is how many people of color were woven into the tapestry of an award ceremony that so many people tune in to enjoy. When I question why some people of color were left out where and when they didn't necessarily have to be, what I'm really asking is if I'm the only person who even noticed their faces missing.
And the reason that I do it is because diversity continues to be a societal problem that we need to address, and to keep addressing. I shouldn't be able to count how many people of color participated in the MTV Movie Awards beyond just showing up. I shouldn't find their appearances so rare in the ceremony that it's actually noticeable to me when they are, or are not, on stage. Give me an award show where the number of people of color introducing the awards, taking home the awards, making the audience laugh or scream between awards, is equal to the number of Caucasian performers doing the same thing. Right now, that seems like a distant dream, but the more we notice, the more we count, the more we discuss, and the more we question, then the more change we're likely to see happen.
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