It’s been about a week since the 2016 Academy Award nominations were announced and actress Jada Pinkett Smith expressed her disappointment with the lack of diversity and shared her and her husband Will Smith’s plans to boycott this year’s show. “Maybe it’s time we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, 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,” she said in a video on Facebook. Since then other notable entertainers such Spike Lee, Lupita N’yongo, Tyrese, and George Clooney have expressed their disappointment as well. Those in support of the boycott are even calling for the show’s black host, comedian Chris Rock, to relinquish his hosting duties.However, there are some black actors who are calling foul on the call to boycott. Industry vet Whoopi Goldberg expressed her disagreement on the The View.
“You wanna boycott something? Don’t go see the movies that don’t have your representation. That’s the boycott you want,” she said. “To me, we have this conversation every year. It pisses me off.”
With the controversy heating up and the show about a month away, the Academy’s President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African American woman, has released a statement addressing the criticism.
I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.
What do you think about her promise for change? Do you agree with the boycott? Will you still watch this year’s Academy Awards show?