The Screen Actors Guild Awards made big waves last night by doing something the Oscars are seemingly incapable of—nominating and recognizing non-white actors and actresses for the stunning and praise-worthy performances they give on film and television. With two wins for Idris Elba and a win each for Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, and Uzo Aduba, the night felt like a great, albeit small step toward the entertainment industry recognizing and celebrating diversity on-screen. The wins also prompted new hashtag #SAGSoBlack to trend, helping people both celebrate the accomplishments and take a dig at the Oscars for being so retrogressive.
While the five awards are a huge achievement and deserve to be celebrated, it pays to remember that Idris Elba was the only non-white actor nominated for a movie award, and Rami Malek was the only non-black person of color nominated for anything, period. During her acceptance speech, Viola Davis summed up the diversity issue perfectly, saying that “Diversity is not a trending topic...I will find a way to practice my art, and all of the actors of color who I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless of what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will.” And, as Idris Elba succinctly put it, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV.” #amen!