After Jada Pinkett Smith suggested on Twitter that minorities should boycott the upcoming 88th Academy Awards over the ceremony’s lack of diversity, the actress and wife of Will Smith is now calling on the black community to separate itself from “mainstream” culture.
“Hi, today is Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday,” she said in a two-minute video posted on her Facebook page on Sunday. “I can’t help but ask the question: Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence that we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”
She added: “I ask the question: Have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for he love, acknowledgment, or respect of any group; that maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power?” She continued:
Here’s what I believe; the Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose, to invite whomever they choose, and now I think that it’s our responsibility now to make the change. Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources, and we put them 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 ones. I don’t know, here’s what I do believe: Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity, and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful, and let’s not forget it. So, let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love, and let’s do us differently. I got nothin’ but love.
Pinkett Smith then addressed comedian Chris Rock, who is hosting this year’s show for the second time.
“Hey, Chris, I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching, but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year than you, my friend, good luck. And to the rest of you, nothin’ but love always,” she said.
Watch the video, via TMZ, below:
For the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced last week that all 20 Oscar nominations in the four main acting categories had gone to white actors.
Last year, critics blasted the Academy for failing to nominate Selma director Ava DuVernay and leading man David Oyelowo for awards in their respective categories.
Box office bomb Concussion, which stars Pinkett Smith’s husband Will Smith, was among black-led films snubbed from awards consideration this year.
On her Twitter page on Saturday, Pinkett Smith weighed in on this year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
“At the Oscars… people of color are always welcomed to give out awards… even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic achievements,” wrote the actress. “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”
Director Spike Lee and his wife will also be boycotting the Oscars.
“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?” Lee wrote on Instagram. “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!!”
View this post on Instagram
#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)
Rock commented on this year’s nominating controversy on his Twitter page last week, when he posted a promo for the show in which he described the Feb. 28 telecast as the “White BET Awards.”
— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) January 15, 2016
In a statement last Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton also blasted Hollywood for its so-called “fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics and policies.”
“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars,” Sharpton said. “Yet again, deserving Black actors and directors were ignored by the Academy — which reinforces the fact that there are few if any Blacks with real power in Hollywood.”