Inspired by the commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Jada Pinkett and Spike Lee announced they will not be attending The Academy Awards due to the lack of diversity among the 20 actor nominees. Pinkett and Lee decided separately to boycott the awards.
Discomfort has emerged since the nominee’s announcement. For the second year in a row, the Oscars left out minorities in the nominations. Actors like Idris Elba from Beasts of No Nation was expected to be nominated but ignored, Jada Pinkett’s husband Will Smith for Concussion was also passed over, and many other actors that people believed they had a spot in the awards.
The actress announced on Monday a question to consider and reflect on it, she asked if the African-American community has not reached a time and place where they can recognize that they can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement or respect of any groups.
Maybe, she continued, it is time that they recognize that if they love and respect, and “acknowledge themselves” in a the way that they are asking others to do, that was the place of true power, she asked a rhetorical question calm and sincere in a video posted on Facebook.
Pinkett later added that the Academy had the right to recognize and invite whomever they choose, but she proposed to “pull back” their resources and put them back into their communities and programs, so they can acknowledge themselves in way they see fit, and that is as good as the so-called “mainstreams” ones, she said.
One thing she was sure, the actress said, that “begging for acknowledgment” or even asking for it, diminishes dignity and power, and they were dignified people and powerful ones, Pinkett encouraged to not forget that. She later wished “nothing but love” to the soon to be host for The Oscars, Chris Rock.
Spike Lee, director and producer, also showed a position against the #OscarsSoWhite, as the worldwide trending topic called the Academy. Lee posted a photo on Instagram in which he wrote on the description his gratitude for the honorary Oscar awarded the past November, but later added his wife and him will not be attending the ceremony.
The Oscar-winning director said he can not support such acknowledgment, with no disrespect for Academy. He later asked how it was possible that from 20 nominees all of them were whites. Lee shared some commemoratory words from Dr. King and commented that it was not the Academy what to blame, but the “gatekeepers” that decide what to make in the industry.
This is the first time in 18 years that there are no African-American nominees in two consecutive years. Though 37% of the U.S. population, minorities represented 46% of moviegoers in the country, according to a report by the Motion Picture Association of America. 100-grossing movies of 2014, nearly 75% of all characters were white, a study by the University of Southern California demonstrated.