Jada Pinkett Smith’s decision to boycott Oscars may have gained her a lot of support, but it appears to be drawing criticism in equal measures.
Janet Hubert, the actress who played the first “Aunt Viv” in the cult series Fresh Prince of Bel Air, took to Facebook on Monday to blast Jada Pinkett Smith’s decision to boycott the Oscar ceremony to be held on February 28 for its perceived lack of diversity.
Smith’s decision, partly attributed to her husband Will Smith’s omission in the Best Actor category for his film Concussion, led to a heated debate on social media about the apparent prejudice against African-American stars in Hollywood, further instigated by the Academy’s failure to nominate a single black actor in the leading categories for the second year in a row.
Other notable African-American Hollywood personalities, including director Spike Lee and Oscars host Chris Rock, voiced their concern about Hollywood’s alleged discrimination against artists of color, strengthening Jada Pinkett Smith’s resolve to boycott the ceremony.
By Monday, Twitter was awash with sympathetic messages for the black community in Hollywood, with #OscarsSoWhite trending on the micro-blogging website.
However, now it looks like not every black artist in Hollywood is supporting Jada Pinkett’s decision to boycott the Oscars.
Janet Hubert, who co-starred with Will Smith for several years on Fresh Prince, uploaded a video on Facebook Monday night — addressed to the Smiths — blasting their decision to assume the mantle for the entire African-African community, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Miss Thing,” Hubert says referring to Jada Pinkett Smith, “does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak? And, the second thing is — girlfriend, there are a lot of s**t going 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’re talking about some muthaf— actors and Oscars. It ain’t that deep.”
“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win? That’s not the way life works, baby. Okay? And it’s very suspect to me.”
Later, the actress recalls an incident during the filming of Fresh Prince of Bel Air when she approached then-star Smith about banding together to ask the network for a cast-wide raise like the “white shows” do, including Friends. Apparently, this was Will Smith’s response to Janet Hubert’s appeals: “My deal is my deal. And your deal is your deal.”
The full video, which sheds an intriguing light on Hollywood machinations, has gone viral since it was uploaded yesterday, going on to viewed more than 700,000 times at the time of writing. Watch it in its entirety below.
Earlier, in light of the calls to boycott Oscars by Jada Pinkett Smith and others, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, took the unusual step to release a statement regarding the issue, saying that she was personally “heartbroken” at the Academy’s perceived lack of diversity and promised big changes from this year onward, according to News.com.au.
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016
And while Jada Pinkett Smith might certainly have been buoyed both by the overwhelming support she received on the one hand and the formal statement by one of Academy’s representatives to roll in the changes soon on the other, there is no doubt that Janet Huber’s chastising video will come as a huge blow to her self-esteem.
[Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images]