#OscarsSoWhite: Why Jada Pinkett Smith's boycott should be supported

Jada Pinkett Smith, who currently stars in the TV show Gotham, will not be attending the 88th Annual Academy Awards on 28 February.

In this video posted on her Facebook page, Jada asks: “Is it time that people of colour recognise how much power (and) influence we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”

Two days earlier, she shared the following on her social media accounts, talking about the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees list:

"At the Oscars...people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.

With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment,


The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has been revived this year due to fact that for the second year in a row the nominees are predominantly white.

READ: Why Viola Davis’ Emmy win is so important

Now, before you say: “But what about when Halle Berry won Best Actress in 2002?! Or when 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture?," know that this is simply not enough.

Did you know that, according to the Huffington Post, out of a total of 2947 Academy Award winners, a mere 32 statues have gone to African Americans? That's 1.09%.

This year, not one actor of colour was nominated for any of the 20 acting nominations. And, according to The Daily Beast, the only people of colour that will take to the stage on the night will be The Weeknd, who will be presenting an award and of course, host, Chris Rock.

Chris even joked about the whiteness of this year’s show calling it the “White BET Awards”.

Films with predominantly black casts or leads, like Straight Outta Compton, which became the highest grossing musical biopic ever after only three weeks at the box office (knocking Walk The Line from the top spot) and Creed, which was critically acclaimed and called “The best Rocky movie in years”, only received one Oscar nod each – and they both went to white people.

According to a study done by the LA Times in 2012, out of 5765 Academy voting members nearly 94% are white, 77% are male, the median age is 62 and only 14% of members are younger than 50. Could this be the reason for the lack of diversity reflected in the nominees list?

It seems to me that the problem is simply that there are not enough representatives of colour in the Academy. Our stories are just as important, rich and valuable as those of the white male protagonist.

READ: Reese Witherspoon demands that you #askhermore at the Oscars

Despite much Oscar buzz and several other award nominations for Will Smith (Concussion), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), and Samuel L Jackson (The Hateful Eight), none of these roles were good enough for an Academy nod. It seems the only time people of colour are nominated or win is when they play into a stereotype - think Octavia Spencer in The Help playing a maid.

Spike Lee, who received an honourary Oscar in 2015 has also decided to boycott the Oscars, according to TIME. He posted this on his Instagram, expressing his anger and astonishment at the lack of “flava” in the list of nominees.

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. 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. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

Do you think people of colour should boycott the Oscars completely? Share your thoughts with us.

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