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Forget water for Oscars, what about water for Flint? Black elite must speak up


The Internet is an interesting space. What we focus on is dependent upon what we find compelling and whatever we find compelling we click on. This essentially becomes our news. We have the ability to filter out what we are not interested in, and as a result we ultimately control our intake. This is a great way to control our news cycle, however many things get lost in the wash. Sometimes we end up focusing on things that have no immediate effect on our lives; however we get so bombarded with the information it becomes part of our conversation and we either willingly or unwillingly become talking heads for it.

The list of nominees for the 2015-2016 Oscars was released to the public recently and has become a huge point of contention when it comes to race and recognition. The majority of the nominees are White with almost no Black representation. This has been an issue for many years and honestly is nothing new; however Black Hollywood has seemingly had enough and is making their voice heard. Jada Pinkett Smith used the Internet on MLK Day to voice her displeasure and point out that “begging diminishes our dignity.” She is calling for Black Hollywood to galvanize and create a way to honor our own and not be so eager to yearn for the approval of those who do not find value in what we do. This is a valid point. Jada along with her husband Will Smith are royalty when it comes to Black Hollywood and their words do not go unnoticed. Rapper Snoop Dog also weighed in on the subject of Black Hollywood and the Oscars using a few expletives, making his statement the way he said Jada should have made it. “[email protected]#! The Oscars!”

Again, I don’t disagree but there was one thing that Snoop said that raised my antenna. He mentioned how he doesn’t speak about issues that come up in the media but he chose to speak about this one. My question is: Why this one?

Right now the entire population of Flint, Michigan, is essentially being dumbed down by lead-contaminated water. A large percentage of the residents are Black and the most vocal critic with respect to this crisis is Michael Moore. People are literally being poisoned and not until recently has this tragedy drawn any significant attention. Knowing this, why are the voices of our most influential celebrities silent? Why isn’t there more of an outcry by these highly visible, highly influential people when lives are being shot down in the street by law enforcement?

Artists like Diddy and Monica have spoken up with respect to the people of Flint, but we need many more to join them.

Janet Hubert, the original Aunt Viv from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” called Will and Jada on the carpet and even though every word is laced with bitterness the truth speak volumes. I don’t disagree when she says “There’s a lot of s–t going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize. People are dying, our boys are being shot left and right, people are hungry, people are starving, people are trying to pay bills, and you talking ’bout some muh f—in actors?”

Black people have shown that united we can effect change. The Academy felt so much pressure based on those who are taking a stand that Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a public relations crisis statement suggesting it was time for a change and the conversation about the “lack of inclusion” was difficult but important. Black voices united shut down the Magnificent Mile during the busiest shopping day of the year. We can move the needle. We should demand more of those who we support with our money and time. We elevate these individuals to superstar status and we should hold them accountable and expect them to speak for us when we need them to. My hope is that these notable individuals of African descent will speak just as loud in matters of injustice and racism as they do in moments when they are not recognized. You have our attention, use it wisely.

1 Comment

  1. Nigg_Newton on January 20, 2016 at 11:30 am


    Why haven’t the FOLKS of Flint Michigan taken action! They need to do it, not others. We cannot fight LOCAL BATTLES.

    That community must do so. THEY PAID THEIR TAXES!