Steve Harvey now weighs in on Oscars 2016 and the controversy swirling around the all-white nominee list. He is not the only one who has spoken out since Jada Pinkett Smith said she would boycott, followed by husband, Will, who said he won’t be attending either. Chris Rock is the scheduled host for this year, and Harvey spoke out on why Rock should follow through on his assignment.
During a Q&A for the National Association of Television Program Executives, Harvey commented that he understands the boycott, per Us Magazine. I understand what they’re saying.” What he said he doesn’t understand is the pressure being put on Chris Rock not to host the Oscars. Harvey added that Rock doesn’t select the names on the nominee list and no one knows who the Academy is.
Director Spike Lee said he and his wife won’t be attending the awards ceremony, but in an interview with George Stephanopolous on Good Morning America, he said it was a personal choice — not a boycott — and others could make whatever choice they want to make. Lee seems to understand that blacks aren’t a monolithic group and not everyone believes a boycott is in order.
The Oscars aren’t an issue for many black people, because major problems like gang violence, unemployment, and police brutality affect everyday people more than an awards show. Others view the Oscars’ lack of diversity as a metaphor for what’s going on in the real world.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 20, 2016
On the other hand, Fast and Furious actor Tyrese Gibson called for Rock to step down as host. Another critic is rapper and producer of the Power television series, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.
— #KRYS_UG (@ChrispusAbaho) January 22, 2016
Harvey’s take on the Oscars differs from those who are pressuring others not to attend, added Us Magazine. He said if Rock doesn’t host, it won’t be a positive move for African Americans.
You take Chris off, ain’t no blacks nowhere. You can’t go forward and backwards at the same time.
I can’t wait to watch Chris Rock’s opening monologue, and then, turning OFF The EXCLUSION Awards, I mean The OSCARS! pic.twitter.com/dk1VesAqXH
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) January 15, 2016
Steve feels sympathy for potential contenders like Will Smith who was overlooked in his Concussion role and Idris Elba who gave a phenomenal performance in Beasts of No Nation, as well as others.
Talk show host Harvey, who’s not without his own controversy regarding a major mistake in the recent Miss Universe pageant, seems to think that this year’s Oscar’s situation speaks to a larger issue. He joked about the show Friends in his unique style.
If it were happening to you, you’d feel the same thing. How the hell did you have friends in New York, and none of them [are] black? You have no black friends in New York? If you’re in Rhode Island, I’d let it slide.
He believes it’s not right to ask Chris Rock to forfeit the gig of a lifetime, noted Access Hollywood. As a fellow comedian, Harvey said that the Oscars is the opportunity many funny men and women have waited for their entire lives.
“This is his gig. It’s his career, it’s his shot. He’s a host. Chris Rock’s not an actor, Chris Rock will never, ever get an Oscar. He knows that. Let the man do what he do, but he’s going to say something that night that will be beneficial to a lot of people. I understand what everyone is saying, but right now I think we need a Chris Rock on that night. I really do. I think he’ll do more for it than [he would] not showing up.”
Harvey said dumping the responsibility for the Oscars on one black comedian is unfair. Steve jokingly said that he’s helping the boycott by not attending. The punch line is that he wasn’t invited.
[Photo via Pluvious RTN Media Punch IPX/AP]