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Black people want Oscar-worthy endings when it comes to social justice

I wish real life was more like the Oscars, where people can win top honors for stuff you’ve never heard of.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen Nomadland. Yeah, me either. But the film won best picture and the director, Chloé Zhao, won best director. Pundits said she was the first woman of color to win that honor. And that’s nice. I’m sure it’s a great movie and I bet she’s a great director. Just not as great as Ava Duvernay or Regina King.

I’m not sayin’ … I’m just sayin’.

In Hollywood, you can win even if your movie isn’t the one people have seen, but in our communities, you can’t win unless the media takes notice. George Floyd’s family would’ve never seen justice if not for the viral video that shocked the world. Because while there are many others who’ve died at the hands of police, their cases are not up front, and they’ll have a harder time getting justice.

How do I know? Because even now, on the six-month anniversary of Walter Wallace being shot by police as he experienced a mental health episode, nobody’s being held accountable. Even now, with the conviction of Derek Chauvin, police shootings of Black people continue—from Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, to Daunte Wright in Minnesota, to Andrew Brown in North Carolina. And in some of these shootings, they seem to be borrowing from Hollywood storylines.

The cop who shot Daunte Wright claimed she thought she was shooting a taser. And in Spotsylvania Virginia, the cop who shot an unarmed black man named Isaiah Brown claimed he thought Brown’s phone was a gun.

But we want some Hollywood endings to some of our stories, too. We want our people to get the impossible wins. We want the kind of ending that makes an audience stand up and cheer. To put it simply, we want justice. Maybe the Oscars should have a category for that.

Photo: Oscar By Craig Piersma

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