• "We need to have fringe ideas, and they need to not be fringe. Where we do call it Invasion Day, where we are focusing on white supremacy, on Australia's history of violence." (Supplied)
The world places more value on stories about ‘whiteness’, says the playwright and 'Black Comedy' actor.
By
Tara Callinan

Source:
NITV News
20 Jan 2016 - 6:35 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2016 - 4:45 PM

Nakkiah Lui, a Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander actor and writer, says the stories on our screens need to reflect our society.

"So what we care about, what we look like, all the things that make us who we are. If our stories don’t have diverse casts, then that’s a signifier that our stories aren’t representing who we are."

Unless the storyline is changed, Lui can’t see how people of colour will ever be represented or recognised.

"One of the issues is that art is inherently valued by race, we don't think stories about people of colour are as worthy as white stories."

She is thrilled to see ethnic directors winning Academy Awards, but is disheartened that the stories they tell promote ‘whiteness.’

"You could, for instance, point out that over the last few years the Best Director Oscar has been won by a Mexican man, a Taiwanese man, a French man and a White American woman ... but what stories are they telling? What stories do the Academy find inspiring? What do they value?”

“The stories that they value are the stories about whiteness," said Lui.

Acclaimed director of Redfern Now and The Sapphires, Wayne Blair, said something must change.

These remarks come a day after Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced they would boycott the 2016 Oscars ceremony.

In this lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he "cannot support" the "lily-white" Oscars.

Celebrities alike are using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to express their disappointment and reject their Oscars invite.

The online campaign began on Monday - Martin Luther King’s Birthday - with the release of this home video.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, responded to the controversy by saying that was "heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion" in this year's Oscars acting categories and vowed to make a change.

Isaacs issued a statement promising to review the Academy membership in order to ensure "much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond."

"This is a difficult but important conversation and it’s time for big changes," said Isaacs.