Actor Joaquin Phoenix surprised audiences with a jarring and powerful speech this past week at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards. Phoenix was awarded for his leading role in the film, “Joker,” and during his speech shed light on the systemic racism that continues to disprivilege people of colour in the film/entertainment industry.
“... We send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that's a message that we are sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry in ways that we benefit from.” — Joaquin Phoenix
Phoenix’s efforts to draw attention to such a pressing issue is applause worthy and leads as an example of how those with privilege can use their platforms to concede injustices that must be challenged. Phoenix also rightfully acknowledged that it is the “obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it.” Having an actor of his caliber speaking on this issue is a step in the right direction, and will hopefully pave the way for further activism to take place.