Before #OscarsSoWhite

Diversity in Hollywood is more than a black-and-white issue. 

“We have become a generation of diversity. We have mixed the coffee with the cream, so to speak. People have blended together. That is our truth. And our films should reflect that.”

– Sacheen Littlefeather, activist speaking about diversity in Hollywood today

Back in 1973, the Academy made actor Marlon Brando an offer he absolutely refused. He won an Oscar for his role in “The Godfather” that year. But instead of Brando walking up to accept the award, actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather took the stage on his behalf, refusing the award. In front of millions of TV viewers, she used the opportunity to make a political statement decrying the stereotyping of Native Americans in movies and TV. 

“It’s hard enough for children to grow up in this world. When Indian children watch television, and they watch films, and when they see their race depicted as they are in films, their minds become injured in ways we can never know.”

Fast forward to 2016: Jada Pinkett Smith recently wrote to Littlefeather saying that watching a clip of the Oscars speech provided validation for her boycott of the Oscars this year.

Read more of a Q&A @dexdigi did with Littlefeather on the bold statement she made over 40 years ago.  

Photo: Associated Press