In many aspects, the Oscars are still so white, but thanks to Will Packer, the 94th Oscars’ team was for the first time in history much more diverse. Packer, who made history as the first Black producer of the 94th Academy Awards also made history by leading the first all-Black production team alongside his longtime co-producer, Shayla Cowan.
“I’m someone who always believes, ‘I can show you better than I can tell you.’ I’m proud of ours being the first all-Black team, but I don’t feel the need to talk about it inordinately. I’d rather show the world what we can do, and then after the fact, we can talk about how great the result was that this particular team produced. There is no doubt our skill sets and perspectives are allowing us to create a show that will be different than that of our predecessors.”
Packer is the founder and CEO of his own film production company, Will Packer Productions, and Will Packer Media, a television, digital, and branded content company. He has produced or executive produced many movies that have earned critical praise throughout the years. Films that may be recognizable include The Photograph, Little, What Men Want, Night School, Breaking In, Girls Trip, Ride Along 2, Straight Outta Compton, No Good Deed, Think Like a Man Too, Ride Along, Think Like a Man, Takers, Obsessed, and Stomp the Yard.
Packer has many history-defining moments and the 2022 Oscars was definitely one of them. To quickly address the ugly elephant in the room Packer did acknowledge the Will Smith/Chris Rock drama by tweeting, “Welp…I said it wouldn’t be boring #Oscars.”
And when one Twitter user criticized him “making jokes about an assault that happened during your show isn’t the congratulatory message you think it is.”
Packer responded to this specific comment by saying, “Black people have a defiant spirit of laughter when it comes to dealing with pain because there has been so much of it. I don’t feel the need to elucidate that for you,” he wrote. “But I also don’t mind being transparent and say that this was a very painful moment for me. On many levels.”
So if you are looking for something to remember the Oscars by, we choose to remember Packer’s all-Black production team.