Last year when the Oscar nominations were announced, I was, like most Black people, annoyed at the absence of Black faces. I didn’t have that same reaction this year. I was disappointed that Idris Elba wasn’t nominated, but I somehow already knew that the films this year just weren’t going to make the cut and I am not mad about it.
What I am angry about is our approach and how seasonal this outcry is.
Jada Pinkett-Smith has issued a call for Black actors to boycott the Oscars. Her reasons are just, but I am simply not riding the Jada train because we both happen to be Black. So, let’s put some things into perspective.
(Side note: I am not critiquing film quality in this post.)
This is not about the Oscars or any other project
The award seasons’ lack of diversity is the culmination of the industry’s lack of diversity. Hollywood has barely risen above the token [insert minority character here] model. There aren’t enough movies being made with Black actors, which is why we are outnumbered on nomination day. We can’t conjure up Black nominees from films that simply aren’t there. We need to hold the industry accountable for not creating more opportunities for Black actors, not funding Black films and making silly excuses like the financial bottom line. John Boyega just destroyed that excuse with a light saber. As Viola Davis said in her Emmy acceptance speech, “you can’t win awards for roles that simply aren’t there.”
The same would go for the Oscars. We can’t expect to be nominated for films that aren’t being made. Idris Elba has joined the ranks of actors voicing how difficult it is to find diverse roles and diverse opportunities for actors of colour. David Oyelowoexplains poignantly why the Academy Awards matter to him and to so many other actors, but we simply can’t start there. It may mean turning down some roles or it may mean acting in smaller films. This battle won’t be won boycotting an award show with all-White nominees once a year. It’s going to take more than that….
Read the rest of this article from The Huffington Post.