Jada Pinkett Smith has responded after former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Janet Hubert criticized the actress for boycotting next month’s Academy Awards over a lack of diversity among the acting nominees.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith confirmed Thursday that he’ll boycott the February 28 awards ceremony, fired back at Hubert, who had blasted the actress in a widely-viewed video posted to social media.
In the video, Hubert said she finds it “ironic that somebody who has made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win.”
“That’s not the way life works, baby, okay?” Hubert chided.
In response to the video, Pinkett Smith told ET that she doesn’t want to fight with her fellow actress.
“Considering that Alabama had its highest recruitment for the KKK for Martin Luther King’s birthday, I hope that we as African-Americans can find a way to get along and step together,” she told the outlet. The actress was presumably referencing a recent news report that KKK flyers were distributed in Mobile on Monday.
Pinkett Smith continued:
This whole Oscar controversy isn’t really about the Oscars. Really, in my plea to ask all communities and people of color to take back our power is so that we can use it in all sectors of our community, and right now, specifically with African-American people, we have some very serious issues that I think we as a people have to move together on. I’m hoping we can find ways to step together in this instead of finding ways to fight each other. I got love for everybody.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has faced a barrage of criticism for nominating only white actors in each of the top four acting categories for a second consecutive year.
Pickett Smith, whose husband Will Smith was overlooked for an Oscar nomination for his role in Concussion, was the first celebrity to propose a boycott of the awards show.
“At the Oscars… people of color are always welcomed to give out awards… even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic achievements,” she wrote on Twitter Saturday. “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”
Since then, filmmakers Spike Lee and Michael Moore and rapper Snoop Dogg have all joined in boycotting the Oscars. Actors David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, George Clooney, and Idris Elba have spoken out in the wake of the controversy, while some have called for host Chris Rock to step down in protest.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs responded swiftly to the controversy, issuing a statement Monday saying she was “heartbroken” and “frustrated” over the lack of diversity among the nominees, and vowed “big changes” at the awards show in the future.