Designing a Dynasty of Diversity By: Chesley Coleman

Ruth E. Carter took home the award for best costume design for her work for Black Panther during the 91st annual Academy Awards on Sunday. She was up against Mary Zophres (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs), Sandy Powell (The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns) and Alexandra Byrne (Mary Queen of Scots) for the honor. Carter is the first black woman to win the award.

“Wow, wow… I got it. Wow, this has been a long time coming. Spike Lee, thank you for my start. I hope this makes you proud!”, said the beautiful Ruth E. Carter.

Spike Lee coordinated the 1992 film Malcolm X, on which Ruth E. Carter functioned as the costume designer. She got her first Oscar nomination for the film, which she left a mark on the world as the first African American woman to ever be nominated for that award, which is remarkable. She earned her third nomination for Black Panther which turned out in 2018. No African American woman has ever been selected for multiple awards in history of the Oscars.

“Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king,” she continued in her acceptance speech. “It’s been my life’s honor to create costumes.”

Black Panther was nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture. The film also won the award for Best Production Design.

She then began to thank the Academy for the award. “Thank you for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead onscreen,” she stated in her speech.

Carter then thanked the crew that worked behind the film that brought Wakanda to real life, as well as the film’s “genius” director Ryan Coogler. “You are a guiding force. Thank you for your trust and understanding my role in telling the African-American story,” she told to Coogler. She ended the speech by dedicating the award to her 97-year-old mother. “Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and their stories. You are the original superhero,” she said with great emotion. Ruth E. Carter is living proof that dreams really do come true.

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