By now we’ve all seen the video of Jada Pinkett Smith asking black actors and actresses to boycott the 2016 Oscars. And though some think that she’s asking for a lot, others think that her call to action is way over due. I happen to fall in the later category.
When the nominees for this year’s Oscars were released a lot of people were left outraged when they realized that not one black person was nominated for an award.
Creed, Straight Outta Compton and Beasts of No Nation were all released last year and they all did an amazing job, so, naturally, people thought that it was a given that the (black) actors involved would receive some type of acknowledgement, but they got none. Sylvester Stallone got nominated for his role in Creed and the white writers for Straight Outta Compton also got nominated. Now, you can’t tell me that that isn’t a slap in the face to the black actors in both of those films! It seems like they gave the films something just to shut them up. They couldn’t exactly excuse the films as a whole, so they nominated those around the black actors instead of giving the nomination to its, in my opinion, rightful owner.
For years black actors and actresses have had to fight ten times harder than non black actors to make a living in Hollywood and I thought that things were changing, but when stuff like this happen you realize that nothing has changed and it makes you wonder if they ever will.
Yesterday, I watched Wendy Williams interview Ice Cube and in the interview, she asked him if whether or not he was upset that he didn’t get nominated for his role in Straight Outta Compton. He said no. He told her that he expected it. And I feel the same.
I wasn’t surprised to find that once again black actors were left out in the cold. That’s sad. When you’re so used to getting passed over that it doesn’t even phase you when it happens again. A while ago, I read somewhere that Hollywood was a white man’s town. That no matter how good a black person was/is at their job, they will always come second to white people in Hollywood. And if Will Smith, a man who has been in Hollywood for decades and who has acquired a great amount of success, can’t get a nomination, than I’m just at a complete loss.
I do agree with film director, Spike Lee, though.
“The Academy Awards is not where the ‘real’ battle is. It’s in the Executive Office of the Hollywood Studios and TV and Cable Networks,” he said. “This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned…this is what’s important.” He’s saying that we can’t expect to win when we don’t have anyone on our side when the decisions/votes are being made. If all of the voters are white, than we can’t expect to get ahead when there are no black faces in the room to stand up for us.
I know that one person, in particular, I’m referring to Janet Hubert, is saying that Jada is only stepping up because Will didn’t get nominated for his film, Concussion, but I don’t think so. That might have been the stick that broke the camel’s back, but I don’t think that she is only doing this for selfish reasons. This was long overdue. I was surprised to find out that out of all the years that the Oscars has been around (it started in May 1929) only 44 African American actors have been nominated and only 12 have actually won one. That is shockingly low!
I know that Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Spike Lee and his wife, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent are all boycotting the Oscars this year. I can’t exactly say that I won’t be attending because I wasn’t invited, but I can say that I will not be watching.
I agree with Jada in the fact that we, African Americans, should step up and take the necessary steps to create our own platform and stop depending on others to create it for us. We need to start validating ourselves.
So, I guess the question would be: where do you stand? Do you agree or disagree with boycotting the Oscars? Why or why not?
A Little Extra: How awkward do you think Chris Rock feels right now? He is, literally, stuck in the middle. To host or not to host? That is the question.