18:30 20 January 2016
Oscars head Cheryl Boone Isaacs has responded to criticism over the award show’s lack of diversity. The move came after Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith’s announcement that they will not attend because of the mostly white nominees.
While Lee said that he “cannot support” the “lily white” awards show, Jada said: "Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."
She and Lee made their announcement on Martin Luther King Jr Day, a national holiday in the US to remember the civil rights leader.
"Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all," said Lee. "We can't act?!"
Ms Isaacs responded by saying that she will take action to “alter the make-up” of their membership.
6,300 members who make up the organisation are from the film industry and they vote on who is going to be nominated for the Oscars each year.
"This is a difficult but important conversation, and it's time for big changes," she said.
"As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. but the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly."
In 2012, a study was conducted to find out how diverse the Academy membership is. More than 89% of the voting members were composed of 94per cent Caucasian and 77per cent male. 2per cent are black and less than 2per cent are Latinos.
The study also found that Oscar voters have a median age of 62. Only 14per cent of the membership are people younger than 50 years old.
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