On the day America celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee decided to take a stand against the Oscars and Hollywood’s overall lack of diversity.
On a recent post on Instagram, Spike Lee shared a photo of King and revealed that he will not be attending the 2016 Oscars because of its exclusion of Black actors and filmmakers. “My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee, and I will not be attending the Oscar ceremony this February. We can not support it and mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, President [Cheryl Boone] Isaacs and the Academy. But how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flavor at all.”
Lee also blasted Hollywood’s lack of diversity when it comes to studio executives. “I am writing this as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday…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…People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white.”
Jada Pinkett-Smith also revealed that she would boycott the Oscars in a Facebook post. Her husband, Will Smith, was snubbed for his brilliant portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion. Other notable Blacks who were snubbed include Jason Mitchell who channeled the highs and lows of the late Eazy E in Straight Outta Compton; Idris Elba who embraced the scary soul of a ruthless dictator in Beasts of No Nation; F. Gary Gray who helped to bring the N.W.A story to life; and Ryan Coogler who thought of the idea to extend the Rocky story and wonderfully directed Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in Creed.
Straight Outta Compton was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and The Weeknd was nominated for Best Song.
Hollywood stands as an industry that is primarily liberal when it comes to politics. However, there continues to be an overt form of racism that has plagued the industry since its inception.