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    Discovering her past: Element uncovers her roots through African Ancestry DNA testing Tarik Moody


2024 Black Oscar winners: Da’vine Joy Randolph, Cord Jefferson, Kris Bowers

todayMarch 11, 2024

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Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Kris Bowers, Cord Jefferson 2024 Black Oscar Winners
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Kris Bowers, Cord Jefferson 2024 Black Oscar Winners

The 96th Academy Awards, held on Sunday, March 10, 2024, highlighted the remarkable achievements of Black Oscar winners Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Cord Jefferson, and Kris Bowers, while also serving as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to improve representation and diversity within the Academy and the broader Hollywood landscape.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has had a remarkable journey from her early days as a classical vocal performer and opera singer to her current status as an Oscar-winning actress. Her win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Holdovers” showcases her ability to tackle complex characters with depth and authenticity. Randolph’s portrayal of Mary Lamb, a grieving cafeteria worker in 1970s New England, required her to master a period-specific Black Boston accent and delve into the emotional nuances of a character grappling with loss and grief. Her dedication to her craft, evident in her extensive research and commitment to on-set authenticity, has firmly established her as a formidable presence in the industry.

@thedailyshow What helped #DaVineJoyRandolph with her Boston accent for "The Holdovers"? Donna Summer, of course. #DailyShow #TheHoldovers #Boston ♬ original sound – The Daily Show

Cord Jefferson, a native of Tucson, Arizona, has made significant contributions to journalism, television, and now film. His victory in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for his satirical comedy-drama “American Fiction” is a testament to his unique voice and ability to navigate complex social issues with nuance and insight. Growing up as a biracial individual in a predominantly white suburb, Jefferson’s experiences have informed his work, which often explores themes of race, identity, and social justice. His screenplay for “American Fiction,” based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett, serves as a powerful critique of the limitations and expectations placed on Black narratives in the publishing industry and beyond.

Kris Bowers, a Los Angeles native, has made a name for himself as a talented musician, composer, and filmmaker. His win for Best Documentary Short for “The Last Repair Shop” is a testament to his ability to weave compelling narratives that celebrate the transformative power of music. The film, which Bowers co-directed with Ben Proudfoot, explores the story of a unique musical instrument repair shop in downtown Los Angeles that has been providing free repairs to instruments for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1959. Bowers’ personal connection to the shop, having benefited from the very music program it supports, adds a layer of depth and poignancy to the documentary.

While these victories are significant milestones, it is crucial to acknowledge the Academy’s complex history with representation and diversity. Over the years, the Oscars have faced criticism for perpetuating stereotypes and disproportionately recognizing Black actors and actresses in subservient or stereotypical roles. From Hattie McDaniel’s groundbreaking win for her portrayal of a mammy figure in “Gone with the Wind” (1939) to the recent controversies surrounding the lack of diversity among nominees and winners, the Academy has struggled to fully embrace and celebrate the multifaceted nature of Black storytelling.

However, the success of Randolph, Jefferson, and Bowers at the 96th Academy Awards indicates progress and the potential for meaningful change. Their achievements not only highlight their individual talents but also underscore the importance of amplifying diverse voices and experiences within the industry. The presence of other nominated Black talents, such as Danielle Brooks, Sterling K. Brown, Colman Domingo, and Jeffrey Wright, further demonstrates the growing recognition of the wealth of Black artistry within the entertainment community.

As Hollywood continues to grapple with issues of representation and inclusion, it is essential to recognize the achievements of Black talent while simultaneously pushing for systemic change. By uplifting diverse stories, challenging stereotypes, and demanding accountability from institutions like the Academy, the industry can work towards a more equitable and inclusive future.


Written by: Tarik Moody

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