Spike Lee And Jada Pinkett Smith Announce Oscar Boycott

#OscarsSoWhite goes IRL.

January 18, 2016

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. 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!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

#OscarsSoWhite has been trending on Twitter since the Oscar nominees were announced, in protest of a perceived lack of diversity in the nominees and today, two celebrities joined the outcry. Director Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announced separately that they will not be attending the Academy Awards ceremony on February 28.

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In an Instagram post, Lee thanked the Academy for the honorary Oscar he received in November, but decried the lack of nominations for artists of color. “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.”

Lee also wrote that the “real battle” lies not with the Oscar nominations, but in the places of power within the Hollywood system where the “gatekeepers” reside who also remain mostly white. “The truth is we ain't in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white.”

“For too many years when the Oscars nominations are revealed, my office phone rings off the hook with the media asking me my opinion about the lack of African-Americans and this year was no different...I would like the media to ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all white ballot.”

Jada Pinkett Smith's Facebook video message (watch it below) was much less firey. Like Lee, the actress - whose husband Will Smith was tipped by some for a Best Actor nomination for his role in Concussion - mentioned the fact that she was posting her statement on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, and spoke of people of color moving to distribute the spoils of their talents among themselves: “Have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement, or respect of any group?”

“Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and put them back into our communities into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit that are just as good as the so-called mainstream.”

We must stand in our power!

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016
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Spike Lee And Jada Pinkett Smith Announce Oscar Boycott