Jada Pinkett Smith Asks If ‘People Of Color’ Should Boycott The Oscars

Jada Pinkett Smith is one celebrity who doesn’t seek the limelight, but she will speak out if she’s passionate about a topic. Recently, she commented on the lack of diversity at the Oscars because no “people of color” were nominated.

What prompted Smith to speak out is the 2016 Oscar nominee list that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released this past week. Every nominee for acting and writing is white. A similar list was released in 2015, and Ava DuVernay’s critically-acclaimed Selma was overlooked. The AMPAS is 94 percent white, and this impacts which films and actors receive nominations.

This year, two outstanding performances that weren’t considered are Will Smith’s portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion and Idris Elba’s performance as Commandant in Beasts of No Nation. Surprisingly, Michael B. Jordan, the lead boxer in Creed, wasn’t nominated. The only nomination in the film was Stallone as Best Supporting Actor.

Straight Outta Compton, with a mostly African American cast, received its only Oscar acknowledgment for two of its writers who are white. However, moviegoing trends show that audiences support films that depict the lives of people of all ethnicities.

Jada released a series of tweets sharing her heartfelt feelings about yet another year when the Academy chose not to reward actors who released some of their best work in 2015.

Not only did Smith point out the lack of diversity, but she also posed the question if “people of color” should stop participating all together, reported Jezebel. Chris Rock is hosting the Academy Awards this year, but apparently, he agrees about the “whites only” message the Oscars are sending out. The funny man released a 15-second Oscar promo via Twitter calling the motion picture event of the year the white BET awards.

Due to the lack of diversity, a Twitter hashtag (#OscarsSoWhite) was created in 2015 and has been revived once again. Commenters include New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and wife Chirlaine McCray.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, long time member of the AMPAS and president since 2013, also expressed her disappointment that the Academy has shown little progress in nominating films and people that represent all of America, noted the Huffington Post.

Isaacs said, “Of course I am disappointed. But this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated]. This has been a great year in film, it really has, across the board.” She referred to the nominee list and added, “You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it,” adding that the Academy has been too slow in celebrating non-white performers.

It should be noted that the omission of non-white actors two years in a row hasn’t occurred since 1997 and 1998, according to the New York Times. Isaacs added she doesn’t believe that there is a pattern, but finds that all-white nominations are disappointing. But she also added there is no trend to non-whites being shut out of the Oscars, noting that good work is often snubbed.

Jada Pinkett Smith isn’t the only one concerned about the all-white nominee list. Acclaimed director Spike Lee, who recently received an honorary Oscar for his collective work at a ceremony in November, 2015, seconds Smith’s concerns, along with a host of others. Isaac’s focus is on bringing more diversity to the voting members of the Academy.

[Photo via Helen Esteb/Shutterstock]