Wakanda Forever: Blacks Make History and Win Big at 2019 Oscars

Black actors and creative professionals working behind the scenes made history at the 91st Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. 

After three decades in the film industry, Ruth E. Carter became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for costume design with her Afro-futuristic wardrobes in “Black Panther.” 

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart won for their production design on “Black Panther.” Beachler is the first African-American to ever be nominated in the category. Beachler and Carter became just the second and third black women to win non-acting Oscars.

“It just means that we’ve opened the door,” said Carter, a veteran costume designer, backstage. “Finally, the door is wide open.”

Spike Lee won his first Oscar for adapted screenly for “BlacKkKlansman.” He had been nominated five times before.

“Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing,” Lee said when accepting his award. 

Lee gave Carter her start in the film industry as she designed the costumes for “Do the Right Thing.” She is just coming off a career achievement award last week at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards.

Mahershala Ali won a best supporting Oscar for his role in Green Book. It’s his second win in the category. He won for “Moonlight” in 2016. Ali is the first African American man to win two best supporting Oscars. 

Social media celebrated the record-breaking wins, acknowledging a stark constrast from recent years when #OscarsSoWhite populated timelines in protest to the lack of diversity representation in Hollywood. 

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