Idris Elba has decided to speak out about #OscarsSoWhite and the general controversy surrounding the Oscars. Unlike other celebrities that have added their own two cents, Elba’s name was actually tossed in the ring when people started to boycott due to his snub for Beasts of No Nation.
In a conversation, actor Idris Elba told the parliament about the subject of diversity.
“I’m not here to talk about black people, I’m here to talk about diversity. Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin color – it’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and most important of all, as far as I’m concerned – diversity of thought. Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV and film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned.”
— MOBO AWARDS (@MOBOAwards) January 21, 2016
He continued as follows.
“None of us are just one flavor or one color. If we were, we’d be one- dimensional, and that’s what used to drive me mad as an up and coming actor. My agent and I, we’d get scripts and we were always asked to read the ‘black male’ character. Or ‘the athletic type.’ But when a script called for a ‘black male,’ it wasn’t describing a character. It was describing a skin color.”
Later on, the British actor tweeted about the speech.
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) January 18, 2016
Elba is just one name of various Black actors and artists that were snubbed by the Academy, despite receiving nominations for other award shows such as the Golden Globes. Elba was on the short list to receive a nomination, due to his Golden Globes nomination, but did not.
Unfortunately, even though Sylvester Stallone received a nomination for Creed, his director, Ryan Coogler, who reimagined the Rocky franchise by creating an off-shoot, was not recognized, and neither was the film’s star, Michael B. Jordan.
Another name in the mix of nominations that never came to fruition is Will Smith, who gave a stellar performance in Concussion. Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, came to his defense by starting a boycott, which really got the conversation in motion, even though it was bubbling with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter.
In a video, Jada Pinkett Smith offered up some wisdom to her African American colleagues who were upset about the results of the Oscars. She said instead of including themselves, people should know their worth, and not participate. Although her message made powerful waves through the industry, not everyone agrees with her. Clueless actress and FOX correspondent Stacey Dash said that people shouldn’t boycott and that the African American community have to make the decision on whether or not they want to segregate themselves, using the BET awards as an example, or if people want to be included.
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air star Janet Hubert immediately slammed Pinkett-Smith for her comments, calling the whole situation “ironic.”
“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.”
That said, some people like director Spike Lee, filmmaker Michael Moore, and actor David Oyelowo, who was snubbed last year for Selma, are all boycotting the awards. Actor Will Smith finally spoke up about the diversity issue, telling Good Morning America that he was proud to call Jada his wife in the wake of her comments, and that he wouldn’t attend the Oscars, either. Taking into consideration that people who aren’t nominated usually don’t show up in the first place, technically, Smith could have joined in on the festivities as a presenter.
Of the situation, the actor said: “We’ve discussed it. We’re part of this community but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is OK.”
[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]