And at at the front of the house, stood a young Denzel accepting an award as an Oscar nominee from my grandfather, Albert Nellum, at the annual Black Oscars and Black Emmy Dinner hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Although I was too young to attend when this awards dinner as well as the Black Emmy Dinner were in their prime, I look back in awe at this incredible accomplishment of my grandfather. What a truly special night that annually honored the immensely talented faces of color nominated for an Academy Award like Denzel Washington. The Black Oscars was a night of celebration on the eve of the Academy Awards that reminded black actors, actresses, and filmmakers alike, that they are here, heard, and recognized for their phenomenal contributions to the film industry, no matter who the Oscar may go to the following evening.
This dinner, that meant so much to so many, faded away along with my grandfather’s memories of it. I wish I could here his opinion on the lack of diversity being recognized in the Oscars today. I wonder what he would say and what he’d suggest needs to happen in order for change to happen. I do know that my grandfather would be extremely happy to here such a forward moving discourse taking place across the nation in regards to the recognition of black talent and diversity in film. I am proud to hold tight to his legacy and think of his loving impact on the arts and beyond often.