Event signage appears above the red carpet at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards, on Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The 78th annual Golden Globes will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2021. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

By AFRO Staff

In the lead-up to the Golden Globes Awards on Feb. 28,  the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has faced a barrage of criticism about the absence of Black journalists among its membership. But the 87-member group, creator of the prestigious film awards, said it has an “action plan” to address the gap.

“We are fully committed to ensuring our membership is reflective of the communities around the world who love film, tv and the artists inspiring and educating them,” the HFPA said in a statement on Feb. 26. “We understand that we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other underrepresented backgrounds, and we will immediately work to implement an action plan to achieve these goals as soon as possible.”

On Feb. 26, activist organization Time’s Up called out HFPA with a tweeted a photo referencing its lack of inclusivity and the hashtag, #TIMESUPGlobes.

Actor Sterling K. Brown, of “This Is Us” fame and a presenter at this year’s Golden Globes, added his own detraction, saying that given the power the HFPA wields in affecting the lives and careers of entertainers via the Golden Globes, it has a responsibility to be more diverse.

“For any governing body of a current Hollywood award show to have such a lack of voting representation illustrates a level of irresponsibility that should not be ignored,” he said alongside an Instagram repost of the Time’s Up photo.

Hollywood has long had a problem with a lack of inclusivity, something the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite forced the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to confront in 2016.

In an interview with Variey magazine, former HFPA president Meher Tatna acknowledged that the group hadn’t had a Black member since at least 2002 when she joined.

She said finding international Black journalists to join the organization has not been easy.

According to the Golden Globes website, applicants to join HFPA must be journalists based in Southern California who cover the entertainment industry for legitimate foreign publications. They require recommendations from two current HFPA members, and they must submit 24 sample clippings of their work from the last three years. Their names must also be listed in MPAA directory of journalists for the past two years.