Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting this year’s Oscars ceremony
After the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced last Thursday, there was an almost immediate reaction to the perceived skew of the nominees’ races.
Indeed, it’s glaring to take a closer look at the nominees in the acting categories (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress): 20 out of 20, a full 100 per cent, are white.
The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which was also in use after last year’s Oscar nominees were revealed, resurfaced again this year across social media.
WATCH: Hollywood ‘A-listers’ boycotting Oscars due to lack of diversity
Director Spike Lee (Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing), whose movies often deal with racial issues or hot-button controversial topics, announced that he will not be attending this year’s Academy Awards ceremony because of #OscarsSoWhite.
#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, 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. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)
“How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?! WTF!!” said the director on his Instagram page.
WATCH: #OscarsSoWhite was trending after the Oscars had almost all white nominations, again.
Lee posted a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. next to his online rant.
Other black celebrities are taking up the cause as well, including Jada Pinkett Smith, who posted a video to her Facebook page and three tweets to her Twitter account. Smith calmly expressed her disdain over the Oscar nominations, wondering aloud why black actors can be called upon to host and give out awards, but aren’t honoured for their achievements.
Her video is to the point. She even acknowledges Chris Rock (who’s hosting this year’s ceremony), but reiterates that she will not be attending the Oscars. Her husband, Will Smith, was not nominated for his role in Concussion.
Even people nominated for movies like Straight Outta Compton and Creed are white.
Vanity Fair reports that in its 87-year history the Academy has awarded Oscars to 12 people of colour in the major categories.
The AMPAS voting body is 92 per cent white, according to a 2012 analysis of who’s doing the Oscar voting. While that may not necessarily indicate racism, it certainly provides a specific lens with which to look through. If your perspective is a “white gaze,” then it can be assumed that will influence the outcome of votes.
WATCH: Rev. Al Sharpton calling on civil rights groups to boycott Oscars
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs claims she has since redoubled efforts to diversify its membership.
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