Dear White People writer-director Justin Simien capped off his film's awards season run with a win for Best First Screenplay at Saturday's 30th annual Independent Spirit Awards, and delivered a moving acceptance speech about the importance of diversity in Hollywood.
"I started writing this movie some 10 years ago as an impulse because I didn't really see my story out there in the culture," Simien began. "I didn't see myself reflected back at me in the films I love or the stories that resonated for me."
"I tried to put myself in the culture. That can be difficult when, along the way, there's really nothing there to tell you that you belong there," Simien continued during his speech. "I'm very grateful. If you don't see yourself in the culture, please put yourself there, because we need you. We need to see the world from your eyes."
The film, a satire about race relations at an Ivy League college, stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris and premiered at last year's Sundance Film Festival. The film broke records as the most successful crowd-funded film in history and was one of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year.
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.
Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)