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Will There Be An Oscar Boycott?

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Last week’s Oscar’s nominations brought a few surprises, and for the second year in a row black actors are calling out the Academy for the lack of diversity in their nominations. So much so that Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith are calling for a boycott of the February 28th show.

After her husband Will Smith failed to receive a nomination for his critically acclaimed role in Concussion, Jada Pinkett Smith took to Twitter on Saturday to voice her displeasure. ” “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain. But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”” Her comments had a strong reaction among social media, with many calling for a boycott.

The president of the African-American Film Critics Association, Gil Robertson, responded on Sunday stating “I think it would be a mistake to boycott anything. The black community needs to understand that receiving an Oscar nomination is a big deal for anyone, regardless of race. Under Cheryl Boone Isaac’s leadership, the Academy is moving closer to getting in step with the real world. Change takes time.” It didn’t end there however.

Director Spike Lee got into the fray on Monday by posting on Instagram and using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite . He first thanked the Academy for the honorary Oscar he received at last year’s Governor’s Awards, before stating he wouldn’t be attending this year’s awards. “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!!”

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs took to social media late last night to respond. “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” she said. “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.” She follows it up by promising that “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.”

While Cheryl’s words may not stop a boycott this year, her actions prove that she is about moving forward and hopefully fixing a flawed system.

Photo: Dominick D on Wikipedia



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