Read the Deseret News interview with Darnell Hunt, Bunche Center Director and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA.
As a teenager, Darnell Hunt enjoyed making films and dedicated much of his time to this hobby.
When he applied to college, he considered the option of majoring in film and turning his hobby into a career.
When he got accepted, he moved from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles to attend school at the University of Southern California.
He enrolled in the film program in 1982, ready to gain experience and expand his skills.
What he wasn’t prepared for was being one of only two African-Americans in the entire program.
“(It) was really kind of a shock to me,” said Hunt, who is the director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies at UCLA. “I didn’t expect that. I didn’t know a lot about Hollywood. I didn’t know a lot about the issue of race in Hollywood. … I think that kind of sensitized me to the issue.”
The annual Academy Awards takes place on Feb. 26. The limited presence of African-Americans in film has long been a controversial subject as black actors and actresses have walked away 15 times with an Oscar throughout the ceremony’s 88 years, according to a Washington Post article. With Black History Month celebrated in February, Hunt, a humanities professor and a media studies professor discuss the portrayal and representation of African-Americans in the film industry.
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