Spike Lee And Jada Pinkett Smith Announce They're Boycotting #OscarsSoWhite
Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee kicked off Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with announcements that they were planning to boycott the Academy Awards this year. This was the second year in a row in which no black actors (or any non-white actors at all) were nominated for an award. Even the Academy President, a black woman, called the lack of diversity this year a disappointment.
This morning Smith, whose husband Will Smith was named as a snub for his performance in Concussion, posted a video on YouTube with the phrase: "We must stand in our power."
Smith name-checks the Academy and toward the end says she won't be watching or attending. But she seems to be calling for, or at least pondering, something bigger than a boycott:
The Academy has the right to acknowledge whoever they choose, to invite whoever they choose and now I think that it is 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. But here's what I do know: Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful and let's not forget it. Let's let the Academy do them with all grace and love, and let's do us differently.
Over the weekend, she pointed out that the Academy is happy to invite black people to perform and present, but they aren't receiving awards or even being nominated:
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
People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment.— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
J (pt 3)
Lee said he also won't be attending the awards next month, and that the problem is much bigger than the "lily white" awards show:
"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.
Other actors have joined in on calling out The Academy's snub of all nonwhite actors: