Movies & TV Pop Culture

Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee, & More Boycott Oscars Over Lack Of Diversity

"We recognize that we can no longer beg for love, acknowledgement or respect of any group."

MLK Day had special meaning in Hollywood yesterday. Following the lack of diversity in the nominees for the Oscars, actress Jada Pinkett Smith has announced that she’s boycotting the upcoming ceremony--a decision supported by other celebrities throughout the industry.

"Is it time that people of color realize how much power and influence we have amassed?” she asks in a Facebook video. “We no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere…Have we come to a new time and place, where, we recognize that we can no longer beg for love, acknowledgement or respect of any group?” Jada’s decision to boycott the Oscars may have something to do with husband Will Smith being shut out of a nomination for Concussion.

Spike Lee, whose Chi-Raq was also overlooked, echoed Jada’s decision to boycott. The director shared a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a pointed caption. 

#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)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

 

“My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It,” he shares. He says it’s no disrespect to his friend, host Chris Rock, but the nominees don’t reflect actors of color. “40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!!,” he asks, calling the awards “Lilly White.”

White actress Chloe Grace Moretz has also publically called for Hollywood to diversify. “Hollywood really needs to address diversity in Hollywood,” the 18-year-old tells Digital Spy. “We're not even talking about the racial issue of getting more diversity in film. It's a much bigger issue because it's just not happening. It's just not a reality.”

All eyes are now on comedian Chris Rock, who has the uncomfortable task of hosting the Oscars amid the controversy. After calling the ceremony the “White BET Awards,” it’ll be interesting to see what he says on February 28th.

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