Women of Color Unite (WOCU) founder, Cheryl L. Bedford, is calling “Foul” on a new campaign led by CherryPicks and partnering organizations to help end underrepresentation of women in annual awards season nominations and wins. The initiative supports women, however, misses the mark of including organizations that advocate for women of color.
Out of the six organizations partnering in the campaign, none represent women of color. This is a problem. It means that although there is an inclusionary push, the inclusion they are seeking is that solely of gender. This means the Oscars can increase the number of women recognized and not include 1 minority and that would be acceptable.
Bedford has gone head-to-head with individuals who claim to advocate for the underrepresented, yet have no person of color on their boards.
“As the industry gets closer to gender parity, WOC are falling behind. San Diego State’s newest report says that in the entertainment industry white women have gained 4%. Black Women have fallen 2%. Asian women are up 1% and the largest minority, Latinx Women, have fallen 1%. Initiatives like #womenforconsideration without a WOC-led group being involved is part of the systemic problem of racism. And the fact that this plan is being led by Miranda Bailey, a woman who called me, a black woman, “racist” is extremely problematic,” said Bedford.
The incident that Bedford is referring to happened during a panel discussion at Sundance where -Bailey of CherryPicks called her a racist. As you will see from the clip below, Bailey continuously tried to speak over Bedford until a reporter asked her to allow Bedford to speak without interruption.
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“I have either personally met with or had phone conversations with many of the leaders of the organizations partnering on this campaign and it’s disheartening to know they don’t see a problem with the lack of color involved with this campaign,” said Bedford. She went on to say, “I don’t understand how leaving WOC out of the conversation continues to happen in 2019. It is disappointing and frustrating, to say the least. To a larger point, they also leave out Disabled Women. I am frustrated when you consider that WOC-led nonprofits only receive 2% of all foundation/grant money. I suspect those donating think that these groups will also help WOC and other marginalized women; I beg to differ. “
Recently a story was written in the Hollywood Reporter regarding “Crazy Rich Asians” co-screenwriter, Adele Lim. According to the story, Lim left the forthcoming sequel when she found she was making nearly eight to 10 times less than her fellow co-writer, Peter Chiarelli, a white man. This is a grim reminder of Hollywood’s inferior view of women, especially women of color.
Bedford and her organization have drawn a line in the sand. They acknowledge that there are white women and organizations that advocate for women of color above and below the line; they are just very hard to identify when it’s time to take a stand against less inclusive organizations.
The question still remains. Where are the Women of Color in the New #womenforconsideration Campaign? Can someone please tell Cheryl L. Bedford and Women of Color Unite (WOCU).
If you would like to learn more about WOCU, visit https://wocunite.com/