Courtesy of NBC

A recent report from the Los Angeles Times found that in 2019, over 30 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association were flown out to the set of the recent Netflix series “Emily in Paris.” One member likened the trip to that of a “king and queen,” complete with a private museum showing, amusement park rides and a two-night stay at a five-star hotel, The Peninsula Paris — all paid for courtesy of the show.

Not coincidentally, the HFPA is the group that hosts the Golden Globes. They decide who takes home the trophy and who gets left in the dust. When nominations were announced this year, many television enthusiasts scratched their heads when they saw that “Emily in Paris,” despite mediocre reviews, had received two nominations — one for Best TV Series (musical or comedy) and one for Lily Collins as Best Actress in a TV Series (musical or comedy).

The nomination was so strange, in fact, that one of the writers from “Emily in Paris” actually wrote an article condemning the HFPA for their decision, pushing instead for the bold and acclaimed “I May Destroy You:” a Michaela Coel series about a Black woman seeking to rebuild her life after sexual assault.

“That ‘I May Destroy You’ did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything,” Deborah Copaken writes.

Now, by no means is this the first time that the Golden Globes have received allegations of corruption. There is a long history spanning decades of stories about the organization’s unethical practices. Last year, comedian Ricky Gervais delivered a scalding hot speech calling out the award show, saying, “I don’t care anymore. I never did.” So what exactly are the Golden Globes? And who gets to decide what wins and what gets passed up? 

The HFPA is made up of entertainment journalists from all over the world. As of now, there are only 87 members, who meet annually to host the event and honor the most distinguished film and television from the past year. But here’s the kicker: not one single member is Black. And there hasn’t been a Black member in two decades. When you understand this lack of representation, as well as the deep history of corruption within the organization, it becomes abundantly clear why shows like “I May Destroy You” are getting snubbed, as well as why Sia’s extremely ableist and offensive “Music” is still getting a nomination. And it’s the same reason it’s always been.

The fact is that Hollywood is and always has been a white-dominated industry. When it comes to progressivism, they are rarely on the cutting edge, and awards shows like the Golden Globes only serve to celebrate wealthy, white elites for maintaining the same discriminatory dynamics. It’s a parade of artificiality, and worse, it’s out of touch with the pulse of film and television.

We need to start acknowledging the power these awards shows have. These are the committees that have the privilege of choosing what is good or distinguished storytelling. Every time we whitewash nominees, exclude diverse voices or allow money and bribes to factor into these decisions, we are tainting the few things we have to celebrate fantastic film and television. We are signifying to future generations that some experiences are more meaningful than others; we are telling them that artistic integrity does not matter. 

In a world financially dominated by uninspired remakes and cash grabs, we absolutely cannot lose what little we have left to separate the beautiful and challenging from the safe and capitalistic. 

At the end of the day, whether it sounds like some kind of grand demonstration or boycott, the point is this: The job of an award show is to champion the most outstanding media. As it stands, the Golden Globes simply do not fulfill that responsibility. 

Black voices are creating some of the most exciting and urgent art that exists right now, and I will not sit and watch an award show about our film and television if Black people don’t have a say in that discussion. It’s an injustice to Black culture, and it’s an injustice to what we deem art. 

It’s high time we stop shrugging our shoulders and tuning in anyway. Money and power politics have no say in artistic expression. Until they can get it right, there is no good reason anyone should watch a group of corrupt individuals pat themselves on the back for doing nothing. And let’s be honest, the ceremony isn’t that interesting anyway.

If you’re looking to watch something else, read below to find a critically-acclaimed list of Black films and television series from the past year. 

Film:

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah”
  • “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
  • “Soul”
  • “Black is King”
  • “Da 5 Bloods”
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
  • “One Night in Miami…”

Television:

  • “I May Destroy You”
  • “P-Valley”
  • “Lovecraft Country”
  • “Insecure”
  • “Betty”

Daily Arts Writer Ben Servetah can be reached at bserve@umich.edu.