Quincy Jones Talks Diversity & The Academy Awards

Quincy Jones the 82-year-old Oscar, Grammy and Emmy winner agreed to appear on Sunday’s Academy Awards on the condition that he could address the film academy’s Board of Governors to discuss exclusivity and the future of film.

The composer and producer, who earned seven Oscar nods before receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994 and producing the Academy Awards in 1996, met with academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and other officials before agreeing to speak to the organization and other officials in the coming weeks.

Quincy Jones2“I hope I can continue to inspire people to do something about this stuff,” Jones said in an interview with The Associated Press after rehearsing for his Oscar appearance. “I’m not a politician. I just know that it’s very emotional. It’s about opening the doors.”

He did not offer any specific plans for how to solve the entertainment industry’s race and gender problems. But he encourages an open mind and an eye for excellence.

His first film, 1985’s “The Color Purple,” had an all-black cast and earned 11 Oscar nominations, including best picture, screenplay, cinematography, actors including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover, Willard Pugh and others

“My record with the academy is like nobody else’s,” said Jones, an academy member for 50 years and the first African American to produce the Oscar telecast (in 1996).

He blames “the philosophy of the nation” for its marginalization of people of color in entertainment. Money can be the bridge,  he said.  When profits start rolling in, “there ain’t no color left,” Jones said. “The money eliminates the concept of color,” he said.

Diversity issues go far beyond the film academy, and Jones wants the United States to appoint a minister of culture who can foster appreciation for the many contributions made by its diverse citizenry.

“I don’t want the job,” Jones said. “I got 117 projects already.” Among them are a film about the origins of jazz and blues, as well as his recent role addressing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Courtesy, The Lanier Report

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