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.
“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.