For the second year in a row it appears that no People of Color will be recognized in the Oscar nominations. The recent release of the names of the nominees and them being all White has illicited a number of responses from actors of color. Jada Pinkett Smith recently posted a video stating her feelings regarding the Oscars.
At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments
– Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada makes several valid points in her video. One of those points is that Black actors are consistently invited to host and entertain at these mainstream awards ceremonies but are significantly under-recognized when it comes to being recognized for achievement. Perhaps it’s time that we began to not support or recognize these awards as markers of achievement since they are so evidently not paying attention to the work of actors of color.
Jada isn’t the only actor to become verbal about the Oscars and declare that they will no longer support them. Spike Lee also announced that he would not be attending this year’s Oscars and went on to say:
We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president (Cheryl Boone) Isaacs and the Academy. But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!
People are saying that Jada is calling for a boycott of the Oscars; however, nowhere in her video does she explicitly say that
The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose; to invite whomever they choose, and now I think it is our responsibility to make the change. Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put the back into our communities, into our programs and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit that are just as good as the so called mainstream.
– Jada Pinkett Smith
Certainly her statement as applied to the Oscars would suggest not attending or watching; however, that can only be assumed. Spike Lee has voiced his corrections to the media stating that he did not call for a boycott of the Oscars but simply said he would not be attending as he and his family will be attending a Knicks game.
The issue is that it seems like every time a Black person opens their mouth to speak about Black people unifying, supporting and giving back to their communities the mainstream immediately transcribes that into: reverse racism, boycott, riot or some other negative connotation that suggests that our coming together is dangerous to society. And perhaps it is dangerous to society, if society is banking on Black people remaining at the bottom of the barrel. If society is not prepared to begin to accept that Black people are fully capable of and in the process of preparing themselves for a redefining of who we are. We will, for once, tell the world who we are and not the other way around.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man