The African-American community is yearning for a voice of wisdom in the midst of racial controversy surrounding the upcoming Academy Awards, and legendary author Alice Walker is now providing this guidance with the help of social media.
According to the Huffington Post, Walker, author of The Color Purple and several other influential novels, officially joined Facebook on Jan. 28, just in time for Black History Month.
In one of her first posts on the website, Walker acknowledged that she didn’t always appreciate the annual tradition.
Initially condemning Black History Month as the “ultimate segregation,” Walker now embraces the month-long celebration as a chance to break new ground in the fight for equality.
“I felt this way about Mother’s Day and Indigenous People’s Day, too, among others,” Walker wrote in a Facebook post. “However, now I see Black History Month as an opportunity to, in a sense, double down on our efforts to learn who we as Americans actually are, shorn of the myths too many have spun about us.”
In another post, Walker called February a “month of discovery,” adding that she would use this time to share stories and excerpts that are important both to her and to black history as a whole.
“Nothing could delight me more than to begin my connection to the Facebook community by offering to talk with readers about my novel, THE COLOR PURPLE, and to share that this date, February 1, 1902, is the birthday of a beloved ancestor of mine: Langston Hughes,” Walker wrote.
In 2014, the Digital Marketing Journal reported that about 63% of millennials say they stay updated on brands through social networks. With Walker’s debut on Facebook, millions of young African Americans will now have the chance to discover her talents and vast knowledge of race relations in America.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Walker’s wise words coincide with a brewing controversy in Hollywood surrounding the Academy Awards. Several prominent black entertainers are threatening to boycott this year’s Oscars due to a lack of diversity among the nominees.
In fact, the groundswell has become so intense that some notable black figures have suggested bringing back the Tree of Life Awards, a now-defunct ceremony that was colloquially known as the “Black Oscars.”
The Tree of Life Awards ran from 2002 until 2007, when eight black actors were nominated in the same year, rendering the awards useless. Now, with a glaring dearth of African Americans in this year’s batch of nominees, many believe it would make sense to revive the ceremony.
Alice Walker has not yet commented on a potential comeback of the Black Oscars, but there is still plenty of time left for her to share an opinion during Black History Month.
For those who would like to ask her about the controversy, or just converse with a legendary author, Walker will be hosting a live Q and A session via Facebook on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. ET.