While celebrities were walking the red carpet at the 2016 Oscars on Sunday evening, Al Sharpton and a group of protesters were blocks away stressing why diversity matters.
USA Today reports that Al Sharpton and others had planned their “Oscars So White” protest staged by Sharpton’s National Action Network after finding out that all nominees for the Oscars were white.
During the protest, he stressed to a group of about 50 people why diversity matters in the film industry and why fairness is important.
“We’re not saying who must win. But if you’re locked out of the process, you’re dealing with a systemic problem of exclusion. Tonight, we come to give to you your eviction notice for exclusionary action.”
Sharpton and others protested by chanting, “No justice, no peace!” and “Diversify the academy!”
This was just one of the many protests Sharpton was in charge of nationwide after the second year in a row came no black nominees made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. While Sharpton and his group protested the streets, his network also urged TV networks to tune-out the Oscars, revealed USA Today.
“We’re not anti-Leonardo (DiCaprio). We’re anti-exclusion by the Academy and by those that run those major movie studios that have made the decisions. You should give out white Oscars, because that’s who decided who could win tonight,”
It has been reported by the Los Angeles Times that the Oscars are 76 percent male and 91 percent white.
Among the celebrities who boycotted the Oscars are Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, as well as Spike Lee, reports Daily News. Jada Pickett Smith told NBC Los Angeles that she believes her husband, Will Smith, was overlooked for his performance in Concussion and immediately said she was boycotting the Academy Awards.
Sharpton threatened to have advertisers attend the Oscars so they can show the lack of diversity of the Oscar nominees in the future.
Sharpton mentioned this Sunday at First AME Church of Los Angeles during a sermon, Daily News quotes.
“We’ll tell advertisers we know you couldn’t break your contracts this year, but we’re putting you on notice going forward. If they want to have a whites-only award, you don’t need no black dollars in your pocket.”
According to NBC Los Angeles, the Academy Board of Governors are beginning to vote on a campaign to find and recruit “new members who represent greater diversity.”
Observers are noting that the diversity issue is not only with the Academy Awards, but wit the entertainment industry itself, where white men are merely responsible for studio decision-making.
NBC Los Angeles also reports that Academy President, Cheryl Boone, is planning on doubling their female members by 2020 by changing the membership and voting procedures.
Al Sharpton spoke outside of a church at 10 am, Los Angeles Times reveals, and mentioned that great movies, such as Concussion, Straight outta Compton, and Beasts of No Nation.
“Not one of these actors and actresses of color was nominated for their roles.”
Sharpton made it perfectly clear that he was not facing issues with the Hollywood actors who were nominated, but the Hollywood decision-makers.
It was reported by Los Angeles Times that Sharpton organized rallies and protests in multiple cities across the United States, including Cleveland, New York, Detroit, and Atlanta.
Sharpton held up a white-painted Oscar statuette to prove his point.
“When they present the awards tonight, they ought to present them as they are White Oscars.”
Sharpton made a statement that the Oscars may still go on tonight, but they plan to do everything in their power to make sure the future Oscars are under different circumstances.
[Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]