Beautiful gowns, limousines, the red carpet! It’s the Academy Awards – the night the acting community comes together to support their peers. Maybe not this year, though, as several Black actors and directors are encouraging a boycott of the ceremonies due to no major nominations for people of color. Last week two prominent African-Americans from the acting community chose the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to announce a boycott of this year’s Academy Awards over a lack of diversity among the nominees. Jada Pinkett Smith whose husband, Will Smith, was expected to be nominated for “Concussion” but wasn’t, and director Spike Lee are boycotting this year’s ceremony and encouraging others to do so as well. Lee put this out on Instagram: “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WT#” Then there’s the other side as Academy Award-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling entered the debate over a lack of diversity at the Oscars by saying the calls for a boycott are “racist to white people.” Rampling is quoted as saying on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, that sometimes “maybe black actors didn’t deserve to be in the final stretch.” President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, issued the following statement: “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 and conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”
What does this situation show us? I think it is that perceptions are everything and we are still more divided by race than together.
Deidre and I write about the importance of perceptions to the racial divide in several chapters of our book. In our effort to get out our message on coming together as people – God’s children, not races – we are reminded how important it is to teach our children early on that we are “more alike than different,” and what lies inside a person is much more important than what is visible on the outside. Please help us communicate this message to as many people as you can through not only your words, but also your example.
Sue – Voice II
Perception is everything just as much as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People classify “the best” or their favorite based on their own personal tastes. If a majority or all of the Academy Board are white males over 50, I believe their selections will naturally reflect their gender, age, and personal preferences.
I plan to, but I have not watched Concussion with black actor, Will Smith. On the other hand, I have no desire to watch, The Martian starring the white actor and Oscar nominee, Matt Damon, simply because Science Fiction movies, including Star Wars, usually do not interest me. This is because my initial and first preference in shows and movies will be to see dramas, comedies, faces, situations, and places that I can relate to the best. However, I have seen, and I still love the movie Good Will Hunting after Sue told me how good the movie was. Sue’s opinion is important to me and therefore made me see a movie I would not have otherwise viewed on my own. I am still waiting for her to see another classic favorite of mine entitled, Love and Basketball starring Sanna Lathan and Omar Epps.The Academy has finally realized that diversity can be best given and best selected when the basis of the selection process includes a wide variety of all ethnic and gender groups.Once again, that old adage still rings true but must be applied without fail, “Together we will stand because divided we have already failed.”
Question: Must We Repeat History? (Chapter- VIII ; One God, Two Voices)
Deidre- Voice I