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Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee Boycott The Academy Awards

The 2016 Academy Award nominations were recently revealed and they’ve caused more of a negative stir than a positive reaction; and with good reason.  In 2016, out of the 20 actors and actresses nominated for categories, not one of them is a person of color.  Not a single one. 

This should outrage people for a number of reasons, the most basic being the complete lack of diversity in an award show that honors the best films, actors, screenplay, etc of the year.  It goes to show that even when movies like Straight Outta Compton and Creed, two of the films nominated with casts made of people of color, are set to win an award, only the white actors were nominated.  It should also cause an outrage since this is the second year in a row that this has happened.  This is a problem.  

Jada Pinkett Smith, who recently announced that she would not be attending the Academy Awards posted this powerful message on her Facebook account January 18th, Martin Luther King Day, along with a set of honest, necessary questions.

“Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?” she said in the video. “Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power.”

Jada isn’t the only one who won’t be attending The Academy Awards in 2016; Spike Lee also took to social media and voiced his distaste with the awards, again on Martin Luther King Day.

View this post on Instagram

#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 post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

“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”

Spike speaks for himself and his wife as he describes why they won’t be in the audience at the awards and his point is just as strong, necessary, and eye opening as the one Jada made.  It’s time for change, it’s been time for change, and until people of all race, sex, and circumstance speak up for equality and freedom; these issues won’t be resolved.

The Academy President and Producer both spoke out saying they were disappointed that two years in a row this was the way things happened.  The producer said he felt that a number of talented actors of color were overlooked, and in 2015 the president even started an initiative – A2020 – to ask for more opportunities for both women and minorities.  Unfortunately, things didn’t change and the disappointment was only felt harder.

The trend #OscarsSoWhite has allowed fellow actors/actresses, fans, and anyone with a voice to speak out about the lack of diversity in the nominations, and speak out they have.

https://twitter.com/monetgrrl/status/687793323654922240

While it seems like sometimes words aren’t enough to make a change, we’re happy to see actors, actresses, people in the business, and people who aren’t stand up for what’s right and notice when bad behavior becomes habit and try to change it.

Tweet us at @CelebMix and let us know what movies, actors, and actresses you feel were snubbed.

 

Written by Ashley

Writer, coffee drinker, mother.