In an exclusive one-on-one interview on Wednesday, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, gave voice to the most controversial topic in the United States at the moment, #OscarSoWhite. The hashtag stems from the segregation in the nomination list of the anticipated Oscars and was also used last year after facing similar challenges.
Speaking with David Ono of ABC7, the President took the conversation to the diversity predicament in the American entertainment industry dubbed Hollywood. Concerned about the back-to-back all-white acting nominations, Obama spoke on pushing the country towards a better understanding of its differences with a theme of tolerance and inclusion.
“I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That’s a strength,” Obama said. “I think that when everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art, it makes for better entertainment, it makes everybody feel part of one American family.”
Ono also met with Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarett, who helped to give perspective on the President’s viewpoint.
“The President from day one has really fought to insure that everybody has an equal opportunity to compete and achieve their dreams,” she said. “So thinking about how we approach diversity and inclusion in our country is something everyone should do.”
While the lack of inclusion at the Oscars is the Academy’s issue to figure out, Obama said ultimately the Oscars are just a microcosm of what America is dealing with.
“As a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, and provide opportunity to everybody,” Obama stated. “I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue of are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”
The President invited Ono to meet in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House on Wednesday. It’s the same room the two convened in four years ago to discuss the debt ceiling, gay marriage and the economy.