Should Black Actors Boycott the Oscars?
January 19, 2016 at 5:44 am
At the Oscars...people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain, (pt. 1)— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? (pt 2) — Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
Spike Lee followed suit announcing on Instagram that he would not be attending the awards show.
People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment. J (pt 3)— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
Pinkett's stance has garnered support from the likes of Lee and even Snoop Dogg.Yet, not everyone sees boycotting as an effective response. Former NFL player and filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry and NBC writer Kirk Moore, took to their timelines to express different perspectives#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) A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on
To the ppl that say we need create our own awards would you tell an athlete that didn't make the cut to create his own league?— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 14, 2016
Shit we have our own awards and half the time the fans dog them out and don't respect them (BET, Image, Soul Train etc.) — Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) January 15, 2016
I'm not here to name call, but at the same time, it'd be great if everyone would start to take responsibility for their role in the problem.— Kirk Moore (@KirkWrites79) January 18, 2016
The more we understand how this game works, the "easier" it'll be to combat. Or to at least strategize
— Kirk Moore (@KirkWrites79) January 18, 2016
It seems the questions boils down to what we’re seeking to achieve: recognition from industry peers or inclusion in white spaces? If it’s the latter, we may be barking up a tree that will lead us nowhere. Whether it’s the Oscars, Grammys or any other mainstream award show, we’ve seen time and time again that our artwork is underrepresented and appreciated, and valuing our own platforms is crucial
We need people in ALL spaces... studios, trades, awards blogging, Academy membership etc. That's when change will come.— Kirk Moore (@KirkWrites79) January 18, 2016
We’ve never been short of talented filmmakers, thespians, or musicians, so should we no longer look to spaces that have historically shunned us as great sources to validate our achievements? If anything, hopefully the controversy of the Oscars will make us more committed to support fresh talent and spaces that are intended to celebrate our best such as the African Black Film Festival or Ava DuVernay’s African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) - whether they ever get it right or not. Read Next: Janet Hubert Voices Opinion on Jada’s Boycott of the Oscars