Can you imagine a year where they didn’t televise the Oscars? Probably not. Whether you watch the show or not, it’s a staple of the awards season, synonymous with artistic excellence. Well, if you’re a person of color, these representations of achievement might not align with your ideals of creativity or entertainment; a silent, black and white film can win Best Picture…in 2011, but Spike Lee doesn’t get a statuette until 2018…m’kay. The debate about what is and is not worthy to be called high art can rage forever, but one thing I know: I am very well versed on what white culture values in their art, but have white people had the opportunity to be exposed to minority excellence in the same way? The NAACP Image Awards aired on and off broadcast television since 1995, finally finding a home on TV One. The ALMA awards now air on Fuse TV after a years long hiatus. Contrast that with the CMAs which have aired consistently on network television for 50 years. Broadcasting excellence, specifically on network television, is a great way to expose mass audiences to quality (not just what’s popular) and variety in American art. It honors the idea that what is good, looks different to different people and that having one doesn’t invalidate the other.
It removes the pedestal and replaces it with a platform.