This year's Academy Awards, a tradition beginning 88 years ago that has developed a cult following, is going to be a bit different. Many of the black writers, actors, and actresses, will not be attending this year. Spike Lee, famed director, is one of the many who are abstaining from the event, as well as Jada Pinkett Smith. Lee posted an all too real caption on an Instagram post, stating that he and the other celebrities cannot support the awards ceremony, and that it cannot be possible that all of the nominated actors/actresses are white for the second consecutive year.
"Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can't act?! WTF!!"
Mr. Lee leaves nothing to be misconstrued, and Jada Pinkett Smith posted a video, captioning it with "We must stand in our power." And she isn't wrong. Prominent celebrities, people who work for social activism, are the ones with the loudest voices of their demographics. It should not be an accomplishment to get even one black actor or actress nominated, it should be commonplace. Their only hope is to raise enough awareness by boycotting.
The academy is addressing this by promising to "work on" achieving diversity. But what hasn't been discussed is why any actor from the movie Creed, which saw $119.6 million in the box office, wasn't nominated, but the only white actor, Sylvester Stallone, was. Or why the writers of Straight Outta Compton, who are also white, were nominated for the best screenplay. Movies that are about African Americans and their culture are being praised for their whiteness. Snoop Dogg is yet another black celebrity who won't be attending, and he doesn't like to miss a good party.
The lack of accomplished black celebrities, and those who haven't achieved celebrity status yet, is a blatant act of disrespect. In an industry where people capitalize on black culture, the least they could do is nominate the hardworking members of that culture. Some people think an uproar during the award show itself is the way to go, and that could be what's on their minds. However, it wouldn't do much justice for the situation they're in. Undoubtedly, the tabloids would have a field day tearing apart every move they make, and their publicists likely warned them of this if the thought arose. If you saw the movies Creed or Straight Outta Compton, you might want to reconsider joining in the Oscar festivities, and standing with Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Snoop Dogg. The boycott won't work if it doesn't reach the viewers on a widespread scale.
“Somebody asked me was I going to watch the motherfucking Oscars. F*** no. All these great movies and all this great s*** y’all keeping stealing from us. F*** you.”