This weekend, Jada Pinkett Smith took to Twitter to express her disappointment with this year’s White-washed Academy Award nominations.
Critically-acclaimed films like Concussion, Straight Outta Compton, Beasts of No Nation, Creed and other Black-helmed bodies of work were overlooked for a second year in a row, urging Jada and Spike Lee to call for a boycott while taking back our dignity.
“Maybe it’s time we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, 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,” she says in a poignant video posted on her Facebook page. “We can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement or respect of any group.”
Spike Lee joined in on the boycott, declaring he won’t be in attendance, with this powerful Instagram post.
#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)
Chris Rock, who is set to host this year’s ceremony, called it “the White BET Awards.” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President, also expressed disappointment in the “lack of diversity.”
Isaacs told Deadline, “This is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated]. This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board.” But that’s exactly the issue — despite the wide range of excellent films released this year, those that were ultimately selected as nominees for the highest honor in the industry shared one thing in common — whiteness.”
Jada and Lee make incredibly valid points. Who else will join them in their stance?