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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

April Reign (#OscarSoWhite) talks Twitter, Oscars, allies

Zach Linewski

As part of GVSU’s MLK Day celebration, twitter maven and racial inclusion advocate April Reign came to west Michigan. 

April Reign is best known for her hashtags #OscarSoWhite and #NoConfederate—which trended globally and yielded real Hollywood results. We sit down for an interview and she offers some tips, some insights, and even issues a calling. First, I ask why she chooses Twitter over other platforms.

“On Twitter, I can discuss what we had for dinner last night, the fact that my kid is doing well in school, and the lack of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood all at the same time.  It also gives me the opportunity to have a global experience.”

Reign says to build a niche for one’s self on Twitter starting out slow and curating one’s audience are key.

“You decide what the issues are that are of interest to you. You know, so there’s certain news organizations. Whether your political leanings are left or right or center, or none of the above, there’s somebody there that you can follow. Use hashtags to search for people who may have either similar or divergent views from your own.”

Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Reign says nonviolence is not the same as ‘wait and see.’ Rather, she calls for folks to reconsider the idea of “allies” in favor of “accomplices.”

“An accomplice says, ‘I see your pain, lets talk about it.’ And then I’m goig to use my privilege, whatever it is, to stand in the gap for you, so you can accomplish what you need to accomplish.”

Finally, I asked her for an opinion on this year’s Oscar prospects as far as diversity is concerned.

“It’s going to be #OscarSoWhite 3.0.” 

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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