I know I’m a bit late to the after party but I have to throw in my two pennies in about this whole #OscarsSoWhite saga that has been everywhere the past few weeks. I noticed that last week, the bigwigs at the Oscars released a list of presenters for the upcoming extravaganza, many of whom are from black and ethnic minorities. I am sure they gave themselves a hearty pat on the back for that gesture. Funny how they paid attention to this list and not the main actors and actresses lists, eh?
Anyway, I have a bone to pick with a couple of things regarding all this:
1. The Oscars President is one Cheryl Boone-Isaacs. She is a black woman in a highly prestigious role who was at the helm when the same issue cropped up last year. Did she not think to check the list before the nominees were announced to the world? And if she did, surely it must have crossed her mind how some people might react? Or is she so cocooned in the world of Oscars that she didn’t notice? She appeared to be caught on the hop and I don’t understand how she allowed that to happen, because the shortlist ultimately represents the Oscars brand and her.
2. Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee should have boycotted years ago. If this is such a big thing, why is this only happening now? There have been many instances where black actors and actresses should have won an Oscar and they did not. Samuel L Jackson for Pulp Fiction and Angela Bassett for What’s Love Got to Do With It, to name but two. So, as I say: why now? Because Will Smith did not get nominated for an Oscar this time round? Hmm…as much as Janet Hubert is still a tad bitter about Will Smith, she made some good points in her blog post.
3. Stacey Dash needs to be quiet. She is merely an attack dog for Fox News they wheel out when it is convenient.
Personally, I think this issue has got a bit out of hand. For all their prorestations, Will and Jada are Hollywood royalty, so it is a bit jarring when they call out their counterparts.
As for those saying that Chris Rock should withdraw as presenter: hell no! He is absolutely the right presenter for this shindig, especially after all this furore- but only if he is given free rein. He will tear everyone involved in this shambles to shreds. I’m practically rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of all that truth and shade, live on stage.
There is a race issue at the heart of this, but it does not just involve black people being prejudiced against: it’s against all minorities. However, I do not think there should be a boycott. I understand why they think this is a good idea, but I still believe that Spike Lee and co should go to the Oscars and make their point. A sit-down protest in the ampitheatre, or say something on the red carpet, perhaps? Or get one of the presenters to comment in a way that has people tugging at their collars and smoothing down their skirts awkwardly. Staying away only serves to highlight the imbalance and to be honest, I think the bigwigs would be delighted if they did not attend. If black actors, actresses and performers stay away, it will make things easier for them.
Also, what about any black or ethnic minority persons who want to attend because they have been nominated or invited, yet do not have the clout to turn their back on such an event? They are bound to feel uncomfortable when they should not be the ones feeling that way. Spike Lee and the Smiths should go and make their presence felt because that way they can make a difference. Because, believe me, the Oscar bigwigs cannot be that stupid and do this next year. By attending and drawing focus on the numerous snubs live on air, they would take note and realise that they cannot carry on like this anymore.