“I’d like to thank the Academy…”
This has been some week, y’all. Who would’ve known that the nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony would bring about such animosity between working (and non working) actors.
Firstly, Jada Pinkett Smith speaking so eloquently, yet… slowly. Then there’s Janet Hubert speaking on such firmament and with just a pinch of brimstone. And then came Alexis Arquette reminding us all of old rumors of Will and Jada’s sexual preferences. Rumors that have been long since been paid for and swept under very plush oriental rugs. Rugs hand woven by the same little ladies who so painstakingly have sewn those bugle beads on Alexis’ “almost” couture gowns.
But let’s not get caught up in Alexis right now. Nor shall we get hemmed up in the rumors of Will and Jada’s arrangement, although between Alexis’ rant and Will’s interview with Robyn Roberts, I now have a better idea of who Will’s “alleged” sugar daddy (Thanks Wendy Williams) may have been!
I’m also not going to get into Ms. Charlotte Rampling thinking that diversity is “racism towards white actors”. Ms. Rampling, TAKE THREE FIRST CLASS SEATS ON BRITISH AIRWAYS AND GO HOME TO ENGLAND. We are done with you and you aren’t winning this year, anyway.
Now, The Oscars. The pinnacle of celebration of all that is good and right in the motion picture industry. How we/they celebrate the art of movie making from around the globe and here at home in the good old US of A.
Except once again, something, someone has been left out. The people of color. I’d say the blacks but my friend, Erin, would remind me that there are very few if any Asians represented this year either. Maybe more if you count foreign films. And what of our Latin peers? Looking quite pale this year, Oscar. You may need a shot of vitamin D soon.
So, here are a few facts about the Academy: membership is by invitation only. There are about 5,765 members. 94% are white. 77% are male. 86% average 50 years of age or older. The median age is 62.
Having given those numbers, which are a SHAME AND A DISGRACE in 2016. I mean, is this a whites only country club with just enough of a sprinkling of color to get by? Oh wait…yes, yes it is. And are they concerned about the number of minorities who are nominated each year? Only 6% of them.
So should that 6% stage a boycott each time there is no real inclusion of minorities when nominating? This is still based on “art”, right? And most of us have differing views on “art”, right? And you have to at least experience said “art” to know you like it or not, right? How many of those approx.. 5,800 members saw STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON? How many do you think saw CREED or BEASTS OF NO NATION?
I only ask because you forgot about Michael B Jordan and Ryan Coogler. And the ensemble cast of SOC. How do you celebrate the screenplay but not ANY of the actors who are bringing those words to life? And I won’t even mention Idris Elba.
I KNOW y’all saw THE HATEFUL EIGHT and still nothing for Samuel L. Jackson? I mean, he doesn’t care because he has that Capital One money and he is laughing and cursing each of you out inside his high walled estate…next to yours.
Yes I will. After a year of negativity towards him about James Bond and him being too “Street” to play the role and now a total snub for the inspired performance in BONN, I’m losing my respect for you 94% old white men. Just saying.
And I get it…you don’t HAVE to see the disparity because it doesn’t effect or affect you. You are never on the outside looking in at the party. You host the party. The invite the guests. You never notice that the guest list is missing some people because you don’t, as a rule, deal with those people.
So why would you get upset if “those” people boycott your party, when you didn’t invite them? If I were you, I’d just close the blinds and go about my business, as you will.
But what if the invited guests, don’t show? The Helen Mirrens and Meryl Streeps? The Bradley Coopers and the Jennifer Lawrences? The Brad Pitts and Matt Damons? The nominated and celebrated? That’s how you stage a BOYCOTT. By asking those who have full bellies from the movie “kitchen” and can afford to skip the meal and won’t be penalized for rsvp-ing and not showing.
We can boycott and scream and make videos all we want but until our white peers can see the problem and are willing to stand with us to fix the problem, those 5,300 white men who make all the decisions will continue to as they have for nearly a century because THEY CAN.
To create more diversity, we need to work to change those numbers.
So, who’s in the trenches attempting to make such changes?
50 Cent, William Alexander, Stephanie Allain Bray, Madeline Anderson, Neema Barnette, Beyoncé, Effie Brown, Jeffrey Byrd, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Nick Cannon, Greg Carter, Debra Martin Chase, Sean Combs, Common, Ice Cube, Hanelle Culpepper, Mike Epps. Nicole Franklin, Morgan Freeman, Donald Glover, Robin Hamilton, Leslie Harris, Jane Jackson, Noble Johnson Alicia Keys, Spike Lee, Ludacris, Tyler Perry, Jada Pinkett Smith, Raven Symone, Chris Rock, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Aisha Tyler, Usher, Kim Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Forest Whitaker, Jaleel White, Oprah, Jay Z, Denzel Washington, Gabrielle Union, Whoopi Goldberg, Lisa Cortes, Lee Daniel, Ava DuVernay, George Tillman Jr. and even Kenya “Gone with the wind fabulous” Moore have production companies.
Are they all allowed at the tables with Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Brothers, Bob Iger of Walt Disney, Stephen Burke of NBC Universal, Michael Lynton of Sony, Rupert Murdoch and sons of 21st Century Fox or Brad Grey of Paramount? I don’t know. Is there a reason that the lists of executives, at each of these companies, has not a person of color? Yes. They’ve never needed to consider us.
And it’s not just about blacks in Hollywood being in positions of power. I think what I’m saying is, we have to remind them what we bring in buying power AND in talent. Then we remind them that we are watching. The movies and the moviemakers. This is clearly an issue for the Academy but the issue really starts with the lack of diversity on the executive levels of the movie making companies. And the lack of diversity of those hired to write screenplays and orchestrate music and design costumes and sets and wigs and to be grips and to direct.
WE HAVE TO MAKE THEM LOOK AND SEE THE WORLD THROUGH CLEARER EYES AND SEE WHAT WE SEE.
It’s time, Hollywood.
Maybe you really didn’t feel that Ryan’s direction or Michael B’s acting or Idris’ acting were up to snuff when looked at against this year’s nominees…but as a SAG voter and a movie goer that has seen these movies, I’m gonna have to ask you to take another look, at your leisure, at those three and the other talents you over looked because it was a non-issue for you…until it wasn’t.
You have to do better. We can’t wait for ALL the old white men to die for a change to come. Now is the time. Let’s swing the doors wide open and offer opportunity for growth and a chance for artistry to truly thrive and make buckets of money, the way Sam Goldwyn and Louis B Mayer hoped.
So, I thank Jada and Spike for alerting us to their plans and I thank Aunt Viv for calling Jada and Will out for the self-serving nature of their GAYCOTT…I meant Boycott…BOYCOTT!!! I thank Alexis Arquette for the many kikis and I do NOT thank Charlotte Rampling for her old, stupid ass remarks. Satan is alive and he is selfish, y’all!!!
The nominations are made and they aren’t re-calculating a thing for this year but now is the time for attention to be paid in expectation of next year’s nods.
And let’s start considering the Viola Davis’, Angela Bassetts, and Diahann Carrolls for the Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep roles. Let’s look at the country in a mirror and let us see ourselves in the fairy tales and family comedies as well as in the inner city shootouts and baby mama dramas.
That’s all for me, I can’t call out anyone else today, I’ve reached my quota and don’t want to be blacklisted.