Black actors and actresses have been discriminated against since before the Oscars began in 1929. It is frustrating when they work hard to get a good movie role and are not recognized for their skills and abilities as actors and actresses, but thank God the Oscars are not the only award show in the movie industry.
They Know the Truth About the Oscars
The 1st Academy Awards began on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. According to Mentalfloss, Louis B. Mayer, the originator of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM films, created the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences organization so he could stop union formations of the filmmakers and control them by giving them a false sense of purpose and recognition for their hard work. The rewards were just the icing on the manipulative cake so they could make the films he wanted. Mayer even admitted to manipulating them by saying, “I found that the best way to handle [filmmakers] was to hang medals all over them. […] If I got them cups and awards they’d kill themselves to produce what I wanted. That’s why the Academy Award was created.” It looks like it started off with bad motives.
Black Hollywood Shouldn’t Care about the Oscars
If I was a black actress in Hollywood, this history lesson would me give me one more reason to not care about the Oscars. It was basically built on lies, deceit, and power hungry people. Who wants to be a part of that? What matters is the impact that a person’s work has on the lives of others. Anybody can win an award, but it takes someone extraordinary and with God given talent to make people feel overwhelming emotion or change the way they think through a performance. These are the ways that African Americans have bypassed all the politics of the Oscars and triumphed over the Oscars.
They Focused on the Performance
To prevent themselves from getting caught up in the fame and glory, Black Hollywood had to remember why they became actors. They remembered to focus on performing as a beautiful art form that should be enjoyed. Actors portrayed characters as a way to escape from their own realities and as a fun outlet to express themselves. Forest Whitaker said,
“As an actor, I've always wanted to do characters that would help me find my connection with others and connect all of us together. You always want the energy of the character, the spirit of the person, to enter you. I've been doing this for 26 years and some of the things I've done are always with me. Maybe it's a word; maybe it's a gesture; maybe the sound; maybe it's a new understanding about something. I look at it like a past life because I keep going over and over what I have done.”
Do it because you love it and if you stop loving it, find something else to do.
They Remembered It Was Only a Job
Denzel Washington is an amazing actor that focuses on his job and doesn’t care about the accolades. Even though he is grateful for the two Oscars he earned, his acting career does not revolve around the goal of winning an Oscar. He just wants to do memorable work and feel good about who he is as an actor. When asked what he enjoyed about making films, he said, “The magic. There's fun creating that magic. Bringing something to life, whatever. Putting together a character. The twists and the turns that people don't expect.” That’s what it is all about.
They Directed Their Films and Wrote Their Own Scripts
Black Hollywood decided to create more black directors so that more films would be accessible to them. They made their own paths in a world where the odds were stacked against them. Making their own movies opened up a whole new world for them. Chris Rock, who is hosting this year’s Oscars, started out as a stand-up comic, became an actor, and wrote his own movie material. Tyler Perry is a prime example of a man who has defied all the odds: from growing up poor to living in his car to make ends meet. Despite his circumstances, he became a playwright, actor, and director who has produced and directed all of his movies and plays, and owns Tyler Perry Studios. They represented themselves in movies when no one else wanted to.
They Created Their Own Black Oscars
Because the Oscars are more slanted towards white thespians, they created the AAFCA Awards, Trumpet Awards, NAACP Image Awards, BET Awards and Black Reel Awards, which are just a few that focus on performances and contributions made by minorities. Black thespians should stop begging for recognition by mainstream award shows and be content with the accolades they receive from their own.
The Oscars may be the most popular awards show, but it is not the only one that recognizes the talent and abilities of minority actors and actresses. Black Hollywood shouldn’t get angry or upset when they don’t win an Oscar because they should know what really matters in the end: Enjoying and honing their craft and connecting with people through their performances.