Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs responds to backlash over lack of racial diversity

Isaacs said that the Academy will take “dramatic steps” to diversify its members.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said Monday that she’s “heartbroken and frustrated” by the lack of racial diversity in this year’s Academy Award nominees.

“This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes,” she said in a statement.

Isaacs said that the Academy will take “dramatic steps” to diversify its members by reviewing membership recruitment.

While Isaacs said that the Academy has sought to diversify membership over the past four years, she acknowledged that the change is not coming quickly enough.

“We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together,” she said.

Isaacs’ statement came on the heels of the news that Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee plan to boycott this year’s Academy Awards.

“Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power,” Pinkett Smith said in a video posted to Facebook on Monday. “And we are a dignified people, we are powerful, and let’s not forget it.”

Chris Rock is slated to host the show, which will air Feb. 28.

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