Recently, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, two hugely respected actors and directors in the black film community, called for a boycott of this year’s Oscars ceremony over the perceived racism inherent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For the second year in a row, there have been no black filmmakers nominated for any of the major categories (Actor, Actress, and Director), despite strong showings all around.
Creed, the acclaimed new film by acclaimed black director Ryan Coogler and acclaimed black actor Michael B. Jordan, saw only a single paltry nomination by decidedly non-acclaimed, and decidedly non-black, actor Sylvester Stallone. Jada Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will, put forth a great performance in the film Concussion, while Spike Lee’s own Chi-Raq won acclaim as well, though mired in controversy.
Many have joined the boycott, leading to the president of the Academy (herself black) to make a statement about her heartbreak over the lack of diversity represented.
However, not all share these emotions.
In the above video, Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv on Will Smith’s The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, takes on those calling for a boycott, decrying such as not only selfish, but damaging to black artists as a whole. Hollywood, she says, is an incredibly volatile industry in which participation is key–by boycotting it, actors and actresses who have not had such success in the system as Smith or Lee are only hurting themselves. Additionally, she suggests that change needs to come through more important avenues than the ivory towers of Hollywood. Do you agree?