Who Supports the Boycott?

Written by: Reginique Nickerson

Jada Pinkett Smith took to Twitter on Jan. 16 to express her thoughts about the lack of diversity in the Oscars nominations. She posted, “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcome to give out awards … [sic] even entertain, [sic] But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With respect in the midst of deep disappointment [sic]. J”. Two days later, Jada uploaded a video on her Facebook and announced that she isn’t attending or even watching the ceremony.

Some say that Jada is upset because her husband actor Will Smith (who’s also not attending the Oscars) wasn’t nominated for his role in the film “Concussion” but the Smiths assured the world that’s not true. The reason is because for the second consecutive year, minorities haven’t been nominated for any Oscars. Although Will’s role in the 2015 box office hit movie wasn’t recognized by the Academy, neither were movies such as “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton,” whose lead roles were black men praised for their phenomenal performances in these box office top films.

Will supports his wife and her decision to not attend the Oscars and he too, will not be attending. Joining them is director Spike Lee. He posted on Instagram page his opinion about the Oscars’inequality amongst minorities and he and his wife will not attend the event. Instead, he will be attending the Brooklyn Nets game.

Both the Smiths and Lee informed their followers that they respect and support Chris Rock on his decision to host the event and mean no form of disrespect to him or their peers who will be a part of the awards. Musicians and actors, such as Tyrese Gibson, Snoop Lion (aka Dogg), Erykah Budo, 50 Cent, George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo, David Oyelow, actress Lupita Nyong’o, Reverend Al Sharpton and more, support the boycott and hope  the 2017 nominations will be more diverse.

Many people have voiced their opinions via social media and some include the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. The boycott has caused controversy due to negative feedback from celebrities and fans. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has informed everyone that she will do her best to fix the problem. Isaacs posted the following on the Oscars website, “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees.  While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.  In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.

As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like.  We need to do more, and better and more quickly.

This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.” The Oscars will be on Sunday, Feb. 28, on ABC at 7p.m.

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