After April Reign launched the #OscarsSoWhite initiative to highlight the lack of diversity across the Academy Award’s nominees in 2015, the conversation about including more non-white creators behind and in front of the camera began to take shape. However, she now wants to take things a step further and be part of a tangible way for things to seriously change.
So on Thursday, March 1, Reign announced she’s starting a platform called Akuarel. The site will be a source where actors, writers and every Hollywood industry in between, can find talent of various races, abilities, and genders.
“We have seen some progress, but there’s much more work to be done,” she said of her “clarion call to increase diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry.” “I’ve talked about the problem for 3 years. It’s time for a solution.”
Noting that #OscarsSoWhite highlighted the lack of inclusion and the need to give marginalized voices a chance at the soapbox, Reign also said there’s a challenge to find “qualified talent from within these communities.”
“#Akuarel provides the solution: a centralized directory in which those who work on both sides of the camera or curtain and those who hold a pen, a computer, or a microphone can self-identify in the same #OscarsSoWhite categories: race, sexual orientation, disability, etc,” she tweeted.
Subscribers, which can include theater companies, studios and media companies, will be able to search across categories including the ones above -free of charge- to get in touch with talent directly for an interview or audition.
The goal for Akuarel, which launched in Los Angeles Thursday and whose site goes live Friday, March 2, is to make it so that “Hollywood & news outlets will never again be able to say “we want to work with marginalized communities, we just can’t find them,” according to Reign.
“#Akuarel is a gift to both the creators and the consumers of art and media,” she added of the company, whose early partners include A&E Networks and the Motion Picture Association of America. “For those who are committed to issues of equity and inclusion based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability, Akuarel™ is the solution. #OscarsSoWhite.”
Twitter users gladly applauded Regin’s new step in the #OscarsSoWhite process.
Congratulations to you! You are doing what Hollywood refuses to do. God bless
— CollinsJourney (@CollinsJourney) March 2, 2018
this is incredible! thank you💕 and congratulations👏
— ⚛↪bri↩⚛ (@aesthethicclibr) March 2, 2018
THIS. IS. SO. DOPE. congrats! thank you.
— Mel Smith (@iamMelsmith) March 2, 2018
This is amazing and much needed- thank you so much pic.twitter.com/WVKuAutMGs
— Hamilamtv (@hamilamtv) March 2, 2018