JMU News

#Oscarssowhite, How digital spaces are reimagining advocacy

by Hannah Lynn Robinson


In a world of #oscarssowhite, #metoo and #blacklivesmatter, digital spaces have become integral platforms for minority groups to speak out against inequality.

Dr. Morgan Smalls, professor of media arts and design at James Madison University, uses popular culture as an entryway to have larger conversations in the classroom about race, class, gender and power. She is currently studying the portrayal of black women in media and the counter narratives that are created online to combat sexism, racism, and the lack of representation in television and film.

“My scholarship views social media as a tool to reflect and/or challenge the existing, limiting or stereotypical portrayals of “others,” says Smalls. “Topics of my interest have included the convergence of media as it relates to television shows and film such as Being Mary Jane, Insecure and Black Panther.”

Smalls is available to discuss why #oscarssowhite—a term that has gone viral and refers to the lack of inclusion in Oscar nominations and winners—is still relevant, and the way minority groups are utilizing digital spaces to advocate for social change.

Smalls is a postdoctoral and visiting assistant professor at JMU in the school of media arts and design. She earned her Ph.D. in communication, culture, and media studies with a certificate in women’s studies from Howard University.

Media Contact: Hannah Robinson,, 520-222-2808

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Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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