It’s been four days since the very homogeneous 2016 Academy Award nominations were announced and the resulting hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was trending, but not everyone is over the lack of diversity that is to be displayed at this year’s upcoming ceremony. In fact, Jada Pinkett-Smith is toying with the idea of boycotting the film industry’s annual celebratory event in protest of its whitewashing.
In a message early Sunday morning, Pinkett wrote on Facebook:
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? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.
With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment,
That question sparked 8,600 comments and counting, with more than 7,500 respondents liking the very first remark which said:
I think that black people need to stop constantly looking for white approval. We already know what they think of us. Stop trying to constantly get their validation. It’s like having Stockholm Syndrome.
That sentiment echoes that of Britni Danielle who, after seeing this year’s list of nominees and noting the #OscarsSoWhite trending topic, questioned: “But did you really expect anything different?” For most of us that answer was no, which is why it’s funny Pinkett would suddenly be so disheartened by this behavior which has been a trend in the entertainment industry for years. Her outrage is also ironic given the fact that her husband just told The Hollywood Reporter “racism is rare” — a conclusion he came to, he said, after a discussion with his wife.
As for the question put on the table, I imagine the Academy and every other award show in this country would like nothing more than if people of color chose not to participate in their ceremonies and they wouldn’t have to pretend to celebrate diversity in the half-a–ed manner that’s become far too commonplace. What would be nice is if we’d place more value on our own award ceremonies, born out of the very issues we’re still combating today, instead of dismissing the likes of the BET, Soul Train, and NAACP award shows as lesser than and letting white people’s opinions of us whole so much weight.