BLACK VOICES

'12 Years A Slave' Screenwriter John Ridley Explains Why He Feels 'Lucky To Be A Black Man' In Film

John Ridley scored a career milestone when he was awarded an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in “12 Years A Slave” during the 86th annual Academy Awards last year. However, although that particular award show marked a slight improvement with the Academy’s streak of diversity issues, the celebrated screenwriter feels the concern over the lack of representation extends much more beyond film.

“It’s difficult all the way around. And first and foremost, equal access is fair access is something we have to address. And it’s more than just if David [Oyelowo] got a nomination or not,” Ridley said to host Ricky Camilleri during a HuffPost Live segment on Tuesday. “If you look in the TV space and look at how few female directors are working. How few females are in the game…Latinas, Asian-Americans...”

“Unfortunately, and I mean this slightly kidding, I’m lucky to be a black man in the industry right now and where I am,” he admitted. “So to begin with whether it’s entertainment, whether it’s the automotive industry, whether it’s the dot com business, fair and equal access for everyone is vitally important. And it’s particularly important for us as storytellers. To try to tell stories to the world we all have to have challenges and different points of view if we’re going to put them out into the space.”

Check out more of John Ridley’s HuffPost Live segment in the clip above or watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

  • 1 "Birdman"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.
  • 2 "Boyhood"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke), Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
  • 3 "Selma"
    Nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song.
  • 4 "American Sniper
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing
  • 5 "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Wes Anderson), Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design and Best Film Editing.
  • 6 "The Imitation Game"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score.
  • 7 "The Theory of Everything"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.
  • 8 "Whiplash"
    Nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing and Best Supporting Actor (JK Simmons).
  • 9 Bradley Cooper
    Nominated for Best Actor in "American Sniper."
    Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actor in "American Sniper."
  • 10 Wes Anderson
    Nominated for Best Director for "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
    Omar Vega/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Director for "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
  • 11 Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
    Nominated for best Director for "Birdman"
    Omar Vega/Invision/AP
    Nominated for best Director for "Birdman"
  • 12 Richard Linklater
    Nominated for best Director for "Boyhood"
    Todd Williamson/Invision/AP
    Nominated for best Director for "Boyhood"
  • 13 Bennett Miller
    Nominated for best Director for "Foxcatcher"
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for best Director for "Foxcatcher"
  • 14 Morten Tyldum
    Nominated for best Director for "The Imitation Game"
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for best Director for "The Imitation Game"
  • 15 Marion Cotillard
    Nominated for Best Actress in “Two Days, One Night.”
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actress in “Two Days, One Night.”
  • 16 Felicity Jones
    Nominated for Best Actress in "The Theory of Everything."
    Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actress in "The Theory of Everything."
  • 17 Julianne Moore
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Still Alice."
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Still Alice."
  • 18 Rosamund Pike
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Gone Girl."
    Michael Buckner via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Gone Girl."
  • 19 Reese Witherspoon
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Wild."
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actress in "Wild."
  • 20 Steve Carrell
    Nominated for Best Actor in "Foxcatcher."
    Dave Kotinsky via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Actor in "Foxcatcher."
  • 21 Benedict Cumberbatch
    Nominated for Best Actor in "The Imitation Game."
    JB Lacroix via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Actor in "The Imitation Game."
  • 22 Michael Keaton
    Nominated for Best Actor in "Birdman."
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Actor in "Birdman."
  • 23 Robert Duvall
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "The Judge."
    Frazer Harrison via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "The Judge."
  • 24 Ethan Hawke
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Boyhood."
    Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Boyhood."
  • 25 Edward Norton
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Birdman."
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Birdman."
  • 26 Mark Ruffalo
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Foxcatcher."
    Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Foxcatcher."
  • 27 JK Simmons Portrait Session
    American actor in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize-winning film "Whiplash" J.K. Simmons po
    Dan Hallman/Invision/AP
    American actor in the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize-winning film "Whiplash" J.K. Simmons poses for a portrait, on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP)
  • 28 Patricia Arquette
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "Boyhood."
    Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "Boyhood."
  • 29 Laura Dern
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "Wild."
    Steve Granitz via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "Wild."
  • 30 Keira Knightley
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "The Imitation Game."
    Steve Granitz via Getty Images
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "The Imitation Game."