. To make matters worse, 2015 featured the premiers of several compelling works written, directed by, and starring actors of color. However, out of the 305 films reviewed by the Academy, only a smattering of the nominations went to non-white people (namely Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu) and not in any of the highly visible categories like directing, writing, and acting.
Where were the nods for “Straight Outta Compton”? Oh, that’s right, they went to the two white guys who wrote the screenplay. Where were the nods for “Beasts of No Nation”? Why not Idris Elba? What about Will Smith? “Creed,” both written and directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B. Jordan, received a nomination – for Best Supporting Actor. For Sylvester Stallone. Face-palming pretty hard at this point.
It took us a few days of reeling to accept that had just happened. And when Jada Pinkett-Smith released her statement delineating exactly why she would not be attending the Oscars this year and encouraging other black actors and artists to do so as well, I nearly exploded with “Yes!” #OscarsSoWhite accompanying the boycott was a successful clapback at the continued, egregious marginalization of people of color in the film and entertainment industry – but a snarky dig isn’t what’s really going to help. It brings attention to the issue, but it doesn’t undo the underrepresentation.
[bctt tweet=”It brings attention to the issue, but it doesn’t undo the underrepresentation.”]
But we didn’t stop there. No, of course not. We had to hear from actress Charlotte Rampling, claiming the boycott was “racist to white people” (omg, no. no. pls don’t. do NOT.).
To make matters worse, Rampling even offered this analysis: “One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to make the final list.” I can’t be here for that. And of course she followed-up with the requisite non-apology – you know, the one where their words were “misinterpreted.” I’m tired of that and everyone else is, too. I can’t be here for that either. And neither should anyone else. Ever. Again. Let’s not side wind around the issue anymore, and I’m not even going to say please.
Hollywood. Is. Racist.
Just like the rest of America.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that amongst the many years and many awards ceremonies there has been appropriate representation of highly qualified actors and artists of color and this is just an ‘Oops!’ I’m not going to sit here and pretend that amongst the thousands of productions that are churned out by the entertainment industry – both in America and abroad – there isn’t #WhitenessSoOverwhelming. The actual fact of the matter, aside from the #RacismSoObvious, is that there aren’t enough people of color being cast in roles.
[bctt tweet=”I’m not going to pretend that in the entertainment industry there isn’t #WhitenessSoOverwhelming”]
Don’t come to me with, “But they were trying to give an accurate portrayal of [insert book title or historic event here].” In filmmaking there is artistic interpretation aaaaaallll the time. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that people of color are getting cast in enough roles – and to prove my point, Joseph Fiennes was announced the very same week as the actor who will be portraying Michael Jackson in an upcoming British made-for-TV movie. Yes, Michael ‘Thriller’ Jackson. Yes, that one. Arguably one of the most famous people in history and a black man is going to be played by a white actor.
Fuck. Off. With. That.
I’m not here for the weaksauce explanation that Jackson had a condition that caused him to lose pigmentation. Because if Hollywood can do this:
Yep. That happened.
[bctt tweet=”I’m not here for the weaksauce explanation that Jackson had a condition that caused him to lose pigmentation.”]
Then these noobs sure the fuck can find a black actor suited for the role of Jackson. Get outta here. Get right out. Besides the stupendous weirdness of choosing to cast a white man to play a famous black man, the casting choice distinctly flouts Jackson’s own personal wishes.
Per a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson stated that he would not want a white actor to portray him in the event of a film being made about his life. And I’m frankly disturbed at Chris Rock hosting the Oscars. Why are black people good enough to entertain but not good enough for accolades? I’m not placated by the SAG awards – it’s good, but it’s not good enough.
I can’t be here for racist Hollywood – none of us should be.