Director Spike Lee and Actress Jada Pinkett Smith To Boycott The Oscars

Director Spike Lee and Actress Jada Pinkett Smith To Boycott The Oscars

The outcry over the nomination of 20 white actors, and no black ones, for the Academy Awards gained momentum on Monday, as director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced they would not be attending the ceremony on Feb. 28.

Mr. Lee announced on Instagram and Ms. Pinkett Smith through a video their intentions not to attend the awards because, for the second year in a row, none of the actors nominated are black. But they did not call on Chris Rock, the comedian scheduled to host the awards, to do the same.

Referring to himself and his wife, Mr. Lee wrote, “We cannot support it and mean no disrespect to my friends,” naming Mr. Rock; one of the producers, Reginald Hudlin; and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president. All three are black.

In a video released on Monday, Ms. Pinkett Smith said of Mr. Rock, “I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year than you my friend, and good luck.”

Ms. Pinkett Smith had already taken aim at the Academy on Saturday, asking on Facebook and Twitter, “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?” She added, “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.”

She answered her own question on Monday, saying, in the video, “We can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgment or respect of any group.” Her husband, Will Smith, was a best actor contender for his lead role in Concussion, but received no nomination.

Mr. Lee’s boycott is especially fraught for the Academy because, though he received an honorary Oscar in November, his latest film, Chi-Raq, earned no nominations. Saying he was tired of being asked for his opinion about all-white or majority-white Oscar races year after year, he also urged the news media to “ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot.”

Having only white nominees in acting categories for two years straight is an aberration in recent Oscar history; the last time no black actors received nominations for two consecutive years was in 1997 and 1998.

Yet the homogeneity of Hollywood has recently come under increased scrutiny. The American Civil Liberties Union called for a government investigation into potentially discriminatory hiring practices last May. And the Directors Guild of America released a study in December showing that 82 percent of movies from 2013 and 2014 were directed by white men.

Meanwhile, in London, the actor Idris Elba — who was shut out of Oscar contention despite being a heavy favorite for his performance in Beasts of No Nation — denounced the lack of diversity in British television to lawmakers there.

Performers and speakers at the Harlem event, which is new this year and organized by Blackout for Human Rights and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, included J. Cole, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Octavia Spencer, India Arie and Harry Belafonte, who read Patrice Lumumba’s Independence Day speech. The crowd murmured and cheered, often rising to their feet as rousing historic words were read.

Mr. Belafonte was one of the few people who ventured off script, reminiscing about meeting Dr. King when they were both in their 20s.

“If we can fix America,” Mr. Belafonte said, “We will indeed have fixed most of the ills of the world.”

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30 Comments

  1. Henrie
    January 19, 06:02 Reply

    Only the gods know what would’ve happened if Leonardo DiCaprio was black.

  2. KingBey
    January 19, 06:14 Reply

    Ms Pinkett kwa? Has she left Will? Oh church !

    • Pink Panther
      January 19, 06:50 Reply

      No. How’d you come to that conclusion from the post biko?

      • KingBey
        January 19, 06:53 Reply

        I thought Ms was the title given to unmarried or divorced women.

        • ken
          January 19, 07:43 Reply

          In Nigeria divorced women still carry Mrs. Ask Mrs Josephine Anenih and co

          • Dennis Macaulay
            January 19, 08:08 Reply

            Ms is used for women regardless of their marital status. Single or married women can be addressed as Ms but Miss is for single women.

  3. Max 2.0
    January 19, 08:00 Reply

    The Oscars will still go on without them…

  4. Dennis Macaulay
    January 19, 08:12 Reply

    I think black people and other people of color new to integrate themselves into the inner dynamics and politics of Hollywood. The academy votes often across racial lines and how many black people sit there?

    It’s like women in politics, affirmative action can only get you so far. You have to get involved in the inner workings of political machinery to have a strong voice and to open doors for other women.

    Imagine if Hollywood had 10 Tyler Perrys? Who produced big budget movies with people of color? Imagine the difference it would make?

    • Pink Panther
      January 19, 10:02 Reply

      That Academy sef, when I picture the panel, I see a group of stodgy elderly white men with cigars sticking from their mouths.

  5. keredim
    January 19, 08:56 Reply

    Just so we are clear, because my husband was not nominated for an Oscar for playing a Nigerian with an accent placed somewhere in the South of Africa, I too will NOT be attending the Oscars this year, if invited!?? ??????
    ‪#‎WhiteOscars‬

    • Pink Panther
      January 19, 10:03 Reply

      IF invited… Hahhahahahaaa!!! Don’t be such a mess, K. She’s Will Smith’s wife. Of course she’ll be invited.

      • Keredim
        January 19, 10:30 Reply

        Not being messy. I know she was invited. I was just lending my support, that’s all…??

  6. ikhines
    January 19, 09:16 Reply

    Black people have issues. Obviously none of their movies were up to oscar standards. Live with it! Stop playing the race card! I mean halle berry and Lupita won oscars for getting fucked and whiped.awful acting and stupid roles and no one complained.

    • Pink Panther
      January 19, 09:59 Reply

      Awful acting? Really? Lupita’s Oscar-winning acting in 12 Years A Slave was awful?

      • ikhines
        January 19, 12:54 Reply

        Oh PP! She got flogged, cried and got an oscar for it. Our own nkiru sylvanus can outshine her in that role abeg! You need to see her other movies and realize she has nothing close to an acting talent!

  7. Mitch
    January 19, 09:42 Reply

    I said this before. The GGs, Oscars and Grammys have been on a heavy fuck-up roll for sometime now

  8. bruno
    January 19, 10:42 Reply

    i’m in support of this mostly because michael “bae” jordan got looked over for creed. ????

    • Delle
      January 19, 12:53 Reply

      Mmhmm…yess hunnay! Michael is sweetly fine and imma skype it all the way to the North Pole! A-men!

  9. D-boy
    January 19, 11:12 Reply

    Am I the only one who thinks this is so unnecessary? Hispanics, Asians especially never get to smell the academy awards, yet no one talks about that. Black people are so entitled, jeez!

    The real problem is with the Writers and movie studios. There are very few roles that type cast black people.

    • ikhines
      January 19, 13:11 Reply

      Exactly!!! Like anyone anyone will notice spike lee and jada pinkett are absent on a red carpet. Those two? Nah!

  10. Alves
    January 19, 12:45 Reply

    Did I hear someone call Michael B. Jordan, bae? Retract your statement o! I don’t like problems

  11. Delle
    January 19, 12:49 Reply

    I don’t even know which is worse, homophobia or racism? You can imagine what a black gay actor would face in such shaming situation. To think racism has been wiped out or at least curbed, this is baffling!
    Jada and Lee are very right for refusing to attend. You cannot go for a show where you aint recognised or even wanted. These whites need education, it’s not about being exposed and claiming superiority…be ‘educated’ also! Racism is so 20th century. Any movie with no black is a flop and that’s the kick-ass truth!

  12. Keredim
    January 19, 13:12 Reply

    “Any movie with no black is a flop and that’s the kick-ass truth!”

    Wow, so the Godfather Trilogy was a flop..

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a flop…

    Ah KD, KD…. ??

    • Delle
      January 19, 14:00 Reply

      I didn’t enjoy Lord of the Rings and Godfather was an ‘okay’ movie. Blacks know how to put the spice into any movie. The sharp-cutting edge they have can be compared to none, so there!

      • Keredim
        January 19, 15:33 Reply

        Please which shoes will you be wearing when you stand chim, while defending your risible comment?
        ??

      • Pink Panther
        January 19, 18:42 Reply

        Honey, that you didn’t enjoy those movies doesn’t mean they’re flops. I get your Black indignation, but let’s not carry it too far, shall we? Black presence doesn’t a good movie guarantee.

  13. Dickson Clement
    January 19, 15:18 Reply

    And the Oscar goes to….. #myself#, I need to go to an ivy league school of drama… maybe I will have a shot at the oscars… what do you guys think?

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