After facing major backlash — and dismal ratings — for this year's whitewashed Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is attempting to make good on a promise to diversify its ranks.
The Academy announced that Kevin Hart, Common, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, John Legend and Dope director Rick Famuyiwa are among the 322 Hollywood professionals invited to join the storied body of filmmakers.
What's more, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced that a record number of women and minorities were running for seats on the board — including Ava DuVernay, who is challenging incumbent Michael Mann.
"It is really gratifying to see this change taking place, especially to represent the extraordinary breadth of our industry," Isaacs says.
DuVernay and the others looking to join the board may be able to shake things up from the inside. Currently, there are only 14 women on the 382-member board. The Academy is expected to conclude voting by July 2, and results are expected to come the following week.
"We keep taking steps forward, we keep moving forward," Isaacs said. "It's not over by any means. this is part of the initiative, and it will keep going."
This is a small, yet important, step towards a bigger change in Hollywood, which will hopefully lead to open more doors to more people.
See how Ava DuVernay paints her own story in the Black Girls Rock! exclusive video below.
Click here for a chance to win a girls’ trip to Miami!
BET.com is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.
(Photos from left: Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Jason Merritt/Getty Images, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)