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Danielle Deadwyler Says ‘Residual Effects’ of Racism Affect the Film Industry

Danielle Deadwyler Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Maybe Danielle Deadwyler’s Oscars snub can be partially attributed to Andrea Riseborough’s com-from-behind nomination. For the star of Till, though, she believes her shutout from the Academy has something to do with the “residual effects” of systemic racism that has a “lingering effect on the spaces and the institutions” in today’s world. She said as much in an episode of the podcast Kermode & Mayo’s Take on February 9 when asked about Till director Chinonye Chukwu’s January 24 Instagram post saying the film’s lack of nominations reflected “unabashed misogyny towards Black women.” “We’re talking about people who perhaps chose not to see the film,” Deadwyler said on the podcast. “We’re talking about misogynoir. It comes in all kinds of ways. Whether it’s direct or indirect, it impacts who we are.” The Station Eleven star puts on the onus on white people, who are privileged by this system, to fix it. “I think the question is more on people who are living in whiteness, white people’s assessment of the spaces they are privileged by,” she said. After the #OscarSoWhite controversy in 2015, the Academy took steps to diversify its voting body.

This was the second time Deadwyler spoke up about systemic racism in Hollywood this week. “Cinematic history is 100-plus years old,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour on February 7. “I would dare say the system is deeply, deeply impacted by systemic racism that has shaped our country.” She continued, “And if we’re still dealing with systemic racism in this country that is leading us to the loss of a Tyre Nichols, that carries us from the loss of Emmett, there is a trickle-down effect of how racism impacts our lives — from the educational system to the film industry.” Meanwhile, The Woman King director Gina Prince-Bythewood made similar comments in an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week. Let’s hope they’re giving the Academy something to think about.

Danielle Deadwyler on Racism’s ‘Lingering Effect’ on Film