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Ruth Carter is the First African American Woman to win a Costume Designer Oscar

Black Panther might be packed with amazing performances, a fantastic story, and genius direction, but those incredible costumes should seriously have their own show. Luckily, the Academy recognized their brilliance and gave costume designer Ruth Carter the Oscar on Sunday, making her the first African American woman ever to win in that category.
In fact, until Carter’s name was called, no African American woman had won in a non-acting category for over 30 years. And right behind her came Hannah Beachler, who won for Black Panther’s production design.

Speaking to press backstage, Carter touchingly said it meant so much to her to win, not only personally, but for the young women who might follow in her footsteps. “I dreamed of this night, and I prayed for this night, honestly,” she said, “not only just for being a hardworking costume designer, but for what it would mean for young people coming behind me.”

Carter has been toiling away at her craft for many years, was Oscar-nominated twice before, but lost both times.

“It means that we’ve opened up the door,” she said of her win. “Finally, the door is wide open. I’ve been struggling and digging deep and mentoring and doing whatever I could to raise others up, and I hope from my example there is hope and other people can come in and win an Oscar just like I did.”

To her younger self, battling through some 50 films to get to this point, what would Carter say? "I would tell my young self that even through the hard work, what you might have been afraid of, you are doing the right thing, you should not fear, because tomorrow is yours.”

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