Anthony Anderson at NAACP Image Awards: ‘This Is What Diversity Is Supposed to Look Like’

Associated Press
Associated Press
Los Angeles, CA

Host Anthony Anderson used a portion of his monologue at Friday’s 47th NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles to address the Academy Awards race controversy, telling a room of mostly black attendees, “this is what diversity is supposed to look like.”

The Blackish star kicked off the show with a rendition of N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton,” for which he sang adjusted lyrics to touch on this year’s all-white Oscar nominees.

Dressed as rapper Ice Cube, the comedian described himself and the other performers as “Nominees With Attitudes,” and sang lyrics explaining why black performers have their “own” awards show.

“They make me sick, trying to be slick, not respecting black people when we make a flick,” he rapped.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the show, Anderson said he intended to discuss the Oscars, which he described as the “elephant in the room.”

“We’re not going to harp on it, because I believe everybody who’s going to win an award that night is going to touch upon it. For us to harp on it throughout the show would be like beating a dead horse,” he said of the Academy’s nominating elusively white actors for a second straight year.

The 45-year-old made good on his promise, by bringing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy front and center.

In his opening monologue, he said, “Look at all of these beautiful shades of people in the audience… Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like.”

Anderson then commented on President Obama’s upcoming final year in office.

“Damn I love that man,” he said of Obama. “I wish he had another four, right?”

After explaining he and other black voters did not vote for the president because of his color, Anderson said, “Ain’t a negro in here voting for Ben Carson.”

“I love seeing all these faces; black people working. Everybody keeps saying it’s a comeback. But hell, don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years,” he said.

On Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, who were both in attendance at the annual awards show after pledging to boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars, Anderson said, “They better be here after all this ish they started.”

Anderson then made comment of the “other” awards shows.

“Even though we have our own awards show, I just want the other ones to be fair. I just hope they don’t go overboard next year and nominate too much black stuff out of guilt,” he said.

In a more serious tone, he concluded, “But tonight is not the night to focus on other awards shows. This is about us. This is our show. and it’s not a comeback. We have been here and we aren’t going anywhere.”

Watch a portion of the 47th NAACP Image Awards below: