Upon accepting her much-deserved Oscar for Best Actress, Francis McDermott left the Academy with two words: inclusion rider. What is an inclusion rider? The stipulation in an actor or actresses’ contract that requires diversity in the film in which they are part.
Although her call for inclusion specifically targeted women, I am no less affected by it. I am a brown-skinned man who dreams of doing rom-coms. In the past, it was not our place to be the romantic lead. Or any lead other than the villain. But things are changing. There is Aladdin and West Side Story and Black Panther. In short, there is possibility now, and I am grateful. Wherever my journey takes me, I am grateful, because there are a lot of me’s in this world.
My sincerest thanks to all who have the power to make this change and choose to do so. Thank you, Francis McDermott. Party on!